The research is clear: Employees who feel well, work well. Healthy employees are happier, more productive and more likely to motivate those around them. A fit workforce also means a reduction in absenteeism and healthcare costs for the employer.

In recent years, employers have learned that supporting their workers’ wellness is good for business. And, if the pandemic taught us anything, it should have been that the more fitness we have in our lives, the better our bodies respond to illness.

Many large and midsize companies have made made major investments in health and wellness programs for their staff, reporting a significant ROI due to increases in productivity. But small business owners need to know that they don’t have to break the bank on gym memberships or workplace nutritionists. Studies show that through support, education and encouragement, employers can have a positive impact and promote healthier behaviors among their employees.

Strategies for a Healthier Workforce

Some inexpensive steps employers can take include:

  • Raising awareness – Talk to employees about health and fitness issues discuss wellness options or changes employees would like to make in the office that could encourage healthier habits. Invite a health coach to present on a health or fitness subject
  • Team building – When employees feel like they have positive connections with their co-workers they generally feel better about being at work. Good workplace relationships can also ease stress, which we all know is a significant threat to good health. 
  • Supporting schedule flexibility – Well-rested employees are healthier. Employers can encourage rest by adding more breaks to the schedule or allowing employees to work part-time or telecommute on certain days.
  • Making small investments – Consider subsidizing inexpensive health and wellness tools, like a employee subscriptions to exercise or meditation apps.
  • Encouraging exercise – Offer group challenges to motivate employees or kick off a lunchtime walking club. Provide small incentives for participating in an office 5K or fitness contest.
  • Serving others – Not only do employees feel good about giving back but working together on a volunteer project will help foster connections.
  • Celebrating success – Recognize employees who have become healthier, ran a marathon or reached their goal weight.
  • Role modeling – Your team will notice (and hopefully be motivated by) your healthy behaviors. So, consider choosing the farthest parking space or walking to work, using a standing desk, taking the stairs, doing desk exercises, etc. Then, invite a staff member to join you for a lunchtime walk.
  • Providing healthy snack options – Having fruit, vegetables and other healthy snacks available for employees to grab in the break room, may keep them away from the vending machine when they need a quick pick-me-up.

Getting your team involved in the conversation is the first step. Having a healthy team improves the safety of your company, as well. Strong bodies have fewer incidents of tripping, lifting poorly, or missing steps. While that may seem simple, those accidents are the most often occurring and sometimes quite costly.

If you would like more support on how to have an event or a speaker for your workplace staff, contact Renee Schofield, Certified Occupational Safety Specialist at 907.247.1431.