How to implement work policies that help staff stay fit

A healthy workforce is a productive workforce, even during pandemic
April 23, 2020
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May 6, 2020

For many years, the idea that an employer would help their staff to stay in good physical shape was unheard of.

Taking care of yourself was something that should happen outside of work time – healthier, happier people weren’t yet seen as happier employees who would be more productive.

Many companies still have a sedentary workforce who, by default, have to spend most of their working day at their desks. One of the simplest ways to help your staff to get moving is to adopt a work from home policy that helps them to use the extra time spent not traveling to work, working out or taking physical therapy exercise of some form to help release any stress that they’re feeling.

In days past, this might have been viewed as a way to do less work, but employees genuinely appreciate the opportunity to better balance their work and home life, with a home working policy an attractive benefit in recruitment terms.

Keeping people working in the roles that they’ve been employed to do is critical for companies, with sick pay a massive drain on financial resources. Priority health issues – including obesity and cardiovascular disease – often prove to be the underlining causes of many other day to day illnesses, such as colds and tummy bugs. There are two approaches that will help support employees to take greater care of their own health, knowing that their employers are behind them.

Setting the example

There are several simple steps that you can take to help your staff stay fit. Some are imposed – such as creating a smoke-free workplace – whereas other approaches include offering healthy food and showcasing healthy food ideas in workplaces and making sure that work canteens have a good choice of healthy fast food options on offer for staff that need to grab something quickly, but who actively want a healthier choice. 

Encouraging staff to take a more active break during their lunchtimes will mean that staff stand up and move about for some of their break time. Setting the example needs to start at the top – if your staff see you taking 15-30 minutes at lunch to go outside and walk, they will feel empowered to do the same. You might even want to create a step chart, for the employees, with an award given out every Friday for the most steps walked or ones for those who will never win but who are making progress in their own way.

As well as uplifting workplace morale and giving people a new focus – maybe away from heading down to the pub or bar together at the end of the week- you are introducing new thoughts and wellness words into the workplace, making it easier for employees to buy into the example you’re setting.

Changing the culture of your workplace can take time but it is something that can happen gradually and without making too many changes, too quickly and losing the staff that you are trying to reach.

Getting motivational quotes to work can be done by using them in a light touch way and by getting employees to suggest ones that help them to stay motivated. You could create a little space for ‘Quote of the Week’ to be displayed with everyone taking a turn. These can focus on both physical exercise and mental health and give staff an easy-to-absorb point of support.

Make it more formal

If you have a really good working environment, you may even want to consider launching an incentive program to reduce alcohol intake and lose weight. This can either take the form of an open forum in the office or, in a more personalized way, with HR. 

You can make your staff wellness program a part of the fabric of your office’s culture, offering loan schemes for people to buy bicycles or other exercise equipment part of the recruitment package. 

Setting motivation

Motivation can come in many different forms and staff are more likely to listen to employers, with regards to living healthier and happier lifestyles, if they lead from the front with transparency.

Operating your business with an open-book management style means that your employees have a clear picture of the company’s financial status and helps them to make better decisions.

If your employees can better understand the bottom line and the impact that sick pay and de-motivated staff can have on a company, they are more likely to make sure they are healthy employees working in a healthy company.