What’s Trending for Healthy Workplaces and Workspaces
Plus, quick tips for employees and employers to stay on top of their health
Colorado is known for healthy living, and for good reason: The state has consistently ranked as the least obese state in the U.S., has one of the lowest rates of diabetes and the second-highest rate of physical activity among residents, according to research from the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The healthy mindset held by many Coloradans has naturally had an impact on the culture of work in the state, with the result that many Colorado businesses have already adopted some sort of employee wellness program or initiative. But there’s even more businesses can do to lead the charge to promote self-care and healthy work habits among employees (and reap the many benefits of a healthier workforce). Consider the following initiatives to improve workplace wellness in your office.
Offer More Healthy Amenities
Onsite gyms and standing desks are great, but businesses don’t have to stop there. Turn an underutilized conference room or office into a wellness room where employees can enjoy a quiet break or even a quick nap during long days. Ensure everyone is staying completely hydrated in the dry mountain air by providing water coolers and herbal teas instead of (or in addition to) coffee and sodas. Hold onsite health-related education programs or lunch-and-learns to coach employees on topics such as nutrition, stress management, ergonomics, and more.
Quick tip: “Mindfulness” activities like meditation and yoga continue to rise in popularity across the state. Consider how to incorporate these or other mindful amenities into your workdays to help employees recharge.
Change to Standing or Walking Meetings
Experts recommend getting up from your desk at least once every hour, so incorporating meetings that have movement will encourage your employees to get moving, too. The increased blood flow to the brain boosts productivity and everyone will return to their seats more invigorated and engaged. Not only will you get people up and out of their chairs, but research has shown that walking increases creativity by as much as 60%.
Quick tip: To increase the inspiration potential for your walking meetings, consider moving your meeting outside to take advantage of the beautiful scenery many parts of Colorado offer.
Encourage Employees Not to Drive
Driving is just another form of sitting, with the added stress of traffic. Encourage your employees to ride their bikes (or scooters, roller blades, etc.) or walk to work as a way to both stay fit and minimize their impact on the environment.
Quick tip: Offering a safe place to store their belongings as well as other incentives could encourage more employees to ditch the car and get in a workout to and from the office.
Allow for Remote Working
It’s becoming more popular for employers to consider letting their employees work outside the office. With so many state parks, gorgeous views and outdoor activities, remote workers are more likely to get out and take breaks, while still being incredibly productive and engaged.
Quick tip: Don’t forget your sunscreen (even if you’re working indoors most of the time). With an average of 300 sunny days a year, it’s even more important for Coloradans to wear sunblock, especially if sitting near windows or conducting other activities outdoors.
Tell Your Employees to Leave
Encourage your employees to use their accrued PTO and, if you notice that some people are working longer hours than usual, suggest they take a night or two off to rest and recharge. Employees that are overworking and not taking the recommended time off can lead to higher stress levels and burnout.
Quick tip: Implement policies that invite employees to unplug regularly by taking frequent breaks, eating lunch away from their desks, and not checking emails on breaks, after hours, or while on vacation.
Healthy workers are happy and productive workers. This means creating an environment and culture that support employees in taking care of their minds and bodies is not only a moral obligation for employer, but also a business imperative. Continually looking for ways to improve workplace wellness allows businesses to be better able to recruit and retain top talent, boost productivity and job satisfaction, all while taking care of their greatest asset – their employees.
Olivia Curtis is a certified personal trainer, fitness nutritionist and wellness expert. In her current role as wellness specialist for G&A Partners, an HR outsourcing firm and professional employer organization, she manages G&A’s award-winning, full-service EVOLVE wellness program, both internally and for many of G&A’s clients.