Developing a healthy workplace for employees

Developing a healthy workplace for employees

Promoting physical fitness in the office is essential for fostering a healthy environment for all employees. Whether your office is trading donuts for fruit or swapping traditional chairs for exercise balls, there are several innovative improvements that can greatly increase productivity, satisfaction and happiness in the office.

As you begin to encourage physical fitness in the workplace, examine the ways you can best promote healthy lifestyles among employees. 

The benefits of a healthy workplace
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, physical activity is crucial for reducing feelings of depression, increasing stamina and decreasing one's risk for developing cardiovascular disease down the road. Additionally, many organizations have found that by implementing programs that further increase healthy living in the workplace, employees are more likely to respond positively and become more productive.

AccountingWeb reported that companies with similar initiatives reported fewer employee sick days, decreased turnover and improved overall staff attitudes. Employees who participated in programs reported greater energy, elevated mood and increased feelings of happiness. 

Small ways to make your office healthier
While some businesses develop programs to help increase awareness for healthy living among employees, others implement small changes throughout the office to further encourage this mindset. The Associated Press reported that a fun and simple way employers can ensure their staff are getting exercise is by allowing them to use exercise balls instead of traditional desk chairs. This small change brings a wealth of benefits to employees, including increased mobility during the day, improved balance and increased muscle toning. 

Cheryl Soleway, a physical therapist in Vernon, British Columbia, explained that the exercise balls encouraged people to remain moving while sitting for extended periods of time.

"What we are trying to promote is active sitting versus passive sitting," Soleway told the AP. "You get a low level of neuromuscular activity – your abdominal and trunk muscles are contracting to some degree. Without that activity, you would fall off."

Another medical professional, Henry Goitz, the chief of sports medicine at the Medical College of Ohio, added that employers should be sure to impose limits with these sitting surfaces, as balancing for eight to 12 hours on an exercise ball could cause a person to become fatigued. Instead, he recommended sitting on the ball for 20 to 30 minutes at a time.

Some offices have implemented standing desks, which allow employees to conduct business while remaining on their feet. Others have implemented companywide contests to further promote physical fitness, offering promotional products related to worker wellness as prizes for completing certain challenges.

Incentives to encourage healthy living
If you're interested in adopting similar healthy living contests for employees, consider a challenge that can be easily undertaken by all workers. Some organizations offer predeveloped programs for offices, such as those that ask workers to complete a six-week initiative revolving around a particular physical activity. 

As your company begins to look into programs that can help increase fitness in the workplace, consider distributing promotional products that will help their cause. Small items can help show employees that the company values their health and is willing to provide support wherever it can. For a general option that will encourage workers to start drinking more water, consider handing out Customized Sports Bottles that workers can easily transport between locations. Alternatively, if you're seeking a more specific item that directly relates to your officewide challenge, opt for an item tailored to tracking fitness, such as the Eco Solar Logo Pedometer, which keeps a record of the number of steps a person has taken as well as the number of calories they've burned.

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