The average modern office is hardly a hotbed of frenzied activity. The ease at which work can be accomplished on a computer leads to an environment in which employees are not particularly active, and with so much time dedicated to career and other life considerations, it can be difficult to find a time to be active and exercise.
However, it is starting to become common knowledge that inactivity can hurt the bottom line in addition to causing issues for employees themselves. In response to these concerns, many companies have explored possible solutions to promote health, all classified under the ever-increasing umbrella of “employee wellness programs.” These programs are diverse, and can often include mental health services in addition to means to keep employees more physically healthy.
Unfortunately, there is no way to get every single employee active and involved in these programs. Some may have existing conditions that prevent them from exercise, and others may simply not want to participate. The good news is that wellness programs are becoming more inclusive, facilitating a variety of health benchmarks and lifestyles. The best that any company can do is to create an environment that facilitates activity. Even a little bit of exercise each day can make a significant difference.
Company leaders can start by generating excitement and creating a group of individuals dedicated to espousing wellness in the office. As with many other company initiatives, getting others involved can often involve setting goals. These challenges can be greatly varied, including setting collective goals for a company, or completing a task on an individual level. The key is to ensure that as many are able and willing to participate as possible. However, all should be achievable and encourage group participation.
Even during work, companies can make their offices more friendly to healthy activity. The most obvious way to do this is to add an exercise room for employees, but they can also take this a step further by incentivizing workout time, extending breaks for those that use these rooms. Other pieces of equipment around the office, such as standing desks and exercise ball chairs, can lead to better employee health. Sitting for long periods can increase risk of hypertension, and those that work in offices at desks are particularly susceptible. Meetings can also be conducted while standing, further mitigating this potential health issue.
Companies that lack the funds to provide these amenities for their employees can still encourage exercise breaks during the work day. Many exercises can still be completed even in a relatively confined space; consider designating someone to lead these activities on a daily basis. 10-minute sessions can make a difference without majorly cutting into employee work time. Many offices have adopted yoga as their activity of choice, promoting health and a sense of camaraderie.
Wellness programs have become an integral part of the culture of many companies. What’s more, many startups have risen up to help address this need, taking the stress off of a company when it comes to planning such a program. They’re adaptable and help take stress off of employees, leading to a happier environment and more productivity. If you’re a business leader, think about the ways you can create a more active office.