February is American Heart Month—is your workplace prepared? It's a good time to think about adopting heart-healthy habits and encouraging them in the workplace. Most people spend the vast majority of their day at work and, when they get home, the last thing they want to do is exercise. Creating a healthier workplace can create healthier employees, which in turn will be a boost to both productivity and morale.
Here are a few ways your workplace can celebrate American Heart Month and get a little healthier together.
Start with a Healthier Diet
What's the first thing you should do when trying to eat healthier? Throw out all the junk food. You can do this in the office by replacing any unhealthy snacks with healthier snacks. Fruits, vegetables, and other healthy options will encourage employees to eat better—at least while they're at work. Replacing soda with something healthier like tea is another small change you can make that will have a large impact.
In addition to this, starting a group challenge is a way to "gamify" health. You can start a group diet that focuses on eating healthy, such as a thirty-day Whole30 challenge. This can give employees more insights into healthy eating. When taking employees out to eat for group lunches, selecting healthier places to eat can also help employees make better choices. You can also consider this when giving out gift cards.
There are many apps that can be used to track progress in teams. These apps provide constant feedback and support, thereby helping employees keep up constant levels of effort even when it because difficult.
Get Going with Some Exercise
It's easy to spend all day in an office at a desk. Some office workers may take fewer than a thousand steps a day. This isn't healthy for anyone. By encouraging employees to get more active, you can help them become more physically and mentally fit.
Walks at lunch or a group fitness challenge is a good way to motivate employees. Setting aside time for employees to pay attention to their fitness will make it much easier for them to fit it into their schedule.
Many offices don't have the space for an internal gym, but businesses can consider offering employees free or discounted gym memberships. Employees can also be encouraged to go to the gym by letting them compete to be the one who goes most often.
Outside of work, you can give employees pedometers or fitness trackers to count their steps and encourage them to do a certain amount of exercise each day. You can also encourage employees to take breaks throughout work to walk around and be active. Circulate items around the office regarding the benefits of being active.
Remember to be inclusive about your health initiatives. Your human resources department can be consulted regarding the best way to include those who may not be able to participate in some active health initiatives.
Bring in Free Health Screenings
Health screenings can help employees get a handle on issues that they might need to address. Employees can be encouraged to visit their own healthcare provider if they'd like or someone can come in and do screenings for blood pressure, BMI, and more. Health screenings give employees a place to start on their health journey. There are even blood pressure and screening utilities that can be installed in office lobbies or break rooms to make it easier for employees to check their own health.
Promote Complete Wellness
Of course, wellness is about more than just physical health. Heart health is also related to issues such as stress, as well as negative health habits such as smoking. Encouraging employees to manage stress, quit smoking, and otherwise improve their physical, mental, and spiritual health can help.
Help employees with stress by:
- Making your offices brighter and more welcoming. Natural sunlight and plants can improve mood.
- Meet with employees frequently. If they can communicate their issues with you, the issues can be addressed.
- Try some meditation. Meditation classes have been shown to improve focus and energy. Yoga is another class that can be helpful.
Heart health doesn't have to be once a year. When February is over, consider keeping some of the most successful initiatives in place. By encouraging better office health, you can also reduce sick time and improve productivity. Get started today towards your business health goals.