Your employees want to be healthier, but between their busy workdays and full personal lives, it’s difficult to find time for exercise. This isn’t just bad for their health — it’s bad for business. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that a lack of physical activity costs employers almost $2,500 per employee, per year in direct medical costs and absenteeism.
To protect both people and productivity, forward-thinking business leaders are looking for ways to create a healthier work environment. Offering robust corporate wellness programs is a great start. The next step: Giving your employees reasons to get on their feet, whether they’re on or off the clock.
Below are five ways to foster a more active, healthier work environment.
Provide Time for Exercise
Make it easier for your employees to fit exercise into their day by offering flex time — so they can choose to start earlier or later than the typical workday in order to make time to hit the gym. Several recent studies show that employees who use work time for exercise or other health-promoting measures can maintain or exceed their previous productivity levels.
On average, employees who spend 2.5 hours per week being physically active during work hours are more satisfied with both the quantity and quality of their work, report enhanced job performance and take fewer sick days than employees who don’t engage in physical activity. They’re also less likely to experience job burnout and depression.
Have Walking Meetings
Encourage your teams and leaders to bypass the conference room and have meetings on the go whenever possible. Not only is this a great way to fit activity into the workday, but walking meetings also have been shown to boost creativity, focus, energy and communication.
Learn more about workplace wellness.*
Evaluate Your Office Space
Consider whether your work environment is conducive to physical activity. If you have a restrictive dress code, are there changing rooms, lockers and/or showers where employees can dress for workouts? Do you have conveniently located bike racks to encourage bicycle commuting?
If you don’t already have an on-site gym, is it possible to add a dedicated fitness area or to partner with a nearby gym? Are your stairwells safe and inviting so employees are more likely to choose them over elevators?
Encourage your team to get healthy while giving back to the local community by offering incentives if they participate in charity marathons or walking events. Philanthropists and outdoor enthusiasts might also enjoy volunteering with Habitat for Humanity or one of the many nature-preservation organizations in Tennessee. Better yet, organize groups to volunteer together and get the added benefit of team bonding.
Create a Wellness Committee
The best way to discover which activities your employees are most likely to engage in is to let them head up the efforts. Offer opportunities for volunteers to form a wellness committee and brainstorm creative ways to make your office a healthy work environment.
For employers: Wellness programs are regulated by federal and state law. Consult your legal counsel before implementing any program component.