If your employees are fit and healthy, they’re likely to be more productive. So as a small business owner, it is in your own interests to encourage your employees to live a healthy lifestyle.
While some large corporations have the resource and capabilities to offer facilities like on-site gyms and yoga classes, these may not be a viable option for small business owners. The good news is, facilitating a healthy lifestyle for your employees can begin with some simple gestures, and doesn’t have to be grand perks only larger firms can offer.
Promoting healthy eating
Healthy eating is the most important step in living a healthy lifestyle – it’s simply not possible to out-exercise an unhealthy diet. Employees who eat a well-balanced diet are also likely to fall sick less often.
Here are a few ways to encourage your employees to eat a healthy diet:
- If you stock snacks in the staff kitchen, consider keeping healthier snacks instead of sugary ones
- Provide natural/low calorie sweeteners in addition to sugar at the tea & coffee station
- Consider fruit box subscriptions, which deliver seasonal fresh fruit to your workplace each week
- If your workplace has a vending machine, contact the supplier about adding some healthy options to the variety
- Provide Vitamin C capsules to employees, especially during winter months
If your employees sit at a desk all day, they may not only struggle to make time for exercise, but they also miss out on incidental exercise. However, there are some simple ways you can support your employees to stay active throughout the day:
- If possible, adjust your employee work schedules such as break times and start or finish times to allow for exercise
- Consider your office layout – is there a way you can place the printer or water cooler in a place where a few extra steps are required to get to them?
- Encourage employees to go outdoors/walk during lunch breaks instead of eating their lunch at their desk
- Organise a team walk once a week or month
- Start a team stretch routine, at the start or middle of the day
The environment your employees work in throughout the day can also have an impact on their overall physical wellbeing. As an employer, you have a responsibility to provide your employees with a healthy environment. A poorly set up work environment can lead to your business being held responsible for long term health effects suffered by your employees. Here are a few tips to help ensure your workplace environment is a healthy one for your staff:
- Keep your office well lit, and try to allow natural light in
- Ensure your workstations are ergonomically set up and consider standing desks – these have been shown to have numerous benefits for employee health and wellbeing
- Keep your workplace clean – COVID-19 made us realise how easily any germs can spread from surfaces, so some of the cleaning routines adopted during COVID-19 are worth keeping in place, such as keeping alcohol wipes and hand sanitiser nearby
- If your staff are working remotely, ensure they have an ergonomically set up workstation, for example, ask them to show you photos of their home office, or listen out for mentions of neck aches or eye strain.
Lead by example
While you can take steps to help facilitate a healthier lifestyle for your employees, remember it’s also important to lead by example. If employees see you eating lunch at your desk, they may not feel comfortable going outside for a walk; give them permission by going for a walk yourself. Be conscious of your own habits, and the impact it has on those around you.
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