Become a Partner in Employee Health and Fitness: Year-Round Employee Engagement
Attitudes are changing about health and fitness in the workplace, not only for employees, but also for employers. For me, the connection between healthy people and healthy workplaces comes together in the simple idea that employers can keep productivity and morale high by prioritizing their team’s health.
However, looking out for our own wellness — let alone the wellness of an entire workforce — can be a daunting task. After all, healthy people aren’t just healthy because they worked out and ate well once; rather, they likely take preventative steps year-round.
To help with this, here’s Oh My Green’s twelve-month plan to keep your entire office engaged with healthier lifestyle choices:
January: Healthy Office Thinking and Practice
Look at a person in your office who you consider most healthy. How do they go about their business?
Most people with healthy and fit lifestyles started far from where you see them today. Their habits and lifestyle choices result from routines they put in place until it felt organic to their way of life. They likely have a well thought out diet of nutritious foods, a general plan for exercising throughout the week, a reasonable understanding of how their body and mind work, and a good outlook and understanding of how work, family, and themselves fit into the picture of their daily routine.
Practicing healthy office thinking needs the same attention. Nutrition, exercise, and education all go in the mix making effective ways to move teams and team-members towards healthy living. Health professionals uniformly tell us health and fitness are a lifestyle, but figuring out the how, what, where, and why will allow you to put a plan in action.
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February: Assessment and Goals
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all plan for fitness. Each person starts at their own level, advances at their own pace, and has their own set of goals. However, there are key aspects of health and fitness that everyone has to look at when assessing how healthy we are, and in the scope of the workplace, there are certainly points to look at when identifying the roadblocks to a healthier life while at the office. Ask yourself things like:
Does the company offer nutritious food selections on-site?
Does the company offer exercise opportunity on-site?
What is the company’s overall stress level?
What is the company’s overall attitude on physical and mental fitness?
What about wellness? Are any of these things out of line with overall health and fitness? If they are, what are they?
Collaborating with your team to assess the company and individual wellness goals unifies a vision of health and fitness. Participation becomes less of a personal assessment, and more of an overarching team goal that you all can work together toward.
March: Nutrition Education and Training
What is the caloric content for the human body? Where can good calories be found? What makes a good calorie? Answering these questions makes good food choices easier. There is no shortage of bad food calories in today’s modern diet. Navigating this food maze takes education and training, while making this training and education in the office a benefit to all.
Consult a nutritionist to give a training and education session at the office. You can also keep information available daily for team members to refer too. Posters, pamphlets, and access to quality nutrition in kitchen and break areas set a companywide appreciation for good nutrition.
April: Exercise Education and Training
The basics of exercise include definitions of intensity, frequency, and duration. Like assessment and goals, there is no single prescription of exercise for everyone. Exercise ability depends on capacity, fitness levels, and understanding. Most offices there are not many Olympic level athletes requiring elaborate training equipment and education. However, everyone interested in exercise and fitness should understand how exercise works and what the benefits are.
Look to leverage in-house expertise for education and training. If you have someone who is committed to exercise and fitness as a lifestyle, have them share their knowledge. If you don’t, contact local gyms and fitness facilities. Most facilities have trainers who are more than happy to lend a hand educating people interested in fitness, and perhaps at a discounted group rate for your office. They’ll want to recruit clients, so the motivation is built in.
May: Mental Health Awareness
Mental health is often neglected in health talk sessions and programs intended to help employees, yet statistics show large numbers of adults in America — and around the world — suffer with depression. Stress and anxiety also make the rounds routinely.
This month is a great opportunity to talk about mindful exercises and stress relief techniques in the office. There are a wide array of mental health issues facing people today. By bringing the conversation to the office, you reduce the negative stigma associated with depression and other illnesses of the mind.
You can schedule a mental health professional to give a short workday session, and you can invite a meditation expert to offer a class of tips and techniques. At Oh My Green, weekly group meditation is a standby in our office, and individual daily meditation is strongly encouraged for mental clarity.
June: New Summer Adventures
By the time June rolls around, you’ve got good momentum heading into summer activities. If you’re in a colder climate, these months mean longer days and warmer temperatures. Basically — it’s time to get outside!
Look for new opportunities to get people involved in outside activities. Basketball, softball, volleyball, bicycling, obstacle courses — these are all great team building activities to engage your staff in an active lifestyle. It’s also a great way to reinforce healthy living and fitness as many employees begin to take summer vacations.
July: Family and Friends Involvement
It’s difficult to achieve a healthy lifestyle without a support system. While colleagues make a great network of encouragement, what about when we leave of the office? Getting families and friends involved is important because those are the people we spend our time with outside of work.
July is a month of company picnics and outdoor gatherings. It’s also a great time to invite employees’ families and friends out to see everything your company has done to encourage employee health. By doing this, you could help motivate families to carry on all of their healthy habits they’ve gained at work, outside of it, and with their loved ones. You’re helping to make healthier living more organic to their lifestyle.
August: In-Office Coaching Sessions
For the past seven months, you’ve engaged employees with healthy living plans, you’ve shifted the company culture to one that actively participates in employee wellness, and you’ve helped people raise their fitness and health levels.
It’s time to step up the game by talking health and fitness coaching. Going back to March’s exercise planning, reach out to gyms and trainers to offer more formal sessions or find ways of incorporating a quick group activity every day. At Oh My Green, 4 o’clock is called “Squat-O-Clock,” where we gather to stretch and do 30 squats. It’s a fun way to step away from our computers and get refreshed before powering through the rest of our work day.
September: Health Awareness
As the weather shifts and offices start bustling with people who’ve returned from their respective vacations, it’s normal for people in offices to start falling ill.
Rather than wait for sickness to sweep through your office, make this your office’s month for in-house health education. Just like kids are returning to school, September can be your employees’ cue to get their annual physicals, take a look at their cholesterol and A1C levels, and learn how to interpret their results so they can identify their potential problem areas. This is also a great time for employers to host flu shot drives or simply recognize employees who’ve made progress toward their health goals.
October: Healthy Cooking Classes
Backing up April’s nutrition information, October is the chance to explore new ways of preparing food. After all, Autumn is the harvest season, making it a great time to fine-tune your employees’ taste for healthy eating.
Root vegetables, squashes, apples, persimmons, and so many other natural foods taste better than ever this time of year. If your company offers catering to its employees, make sure the menu features these seasonal items. You could also host a healthy office potluck that’s centered around Fall produce. October’s a great time for employee engagement around food.
November: Holiday Health Planning
Fall is in full swing and holiday parties are just around the corner. This is the time when temptations may exceed determination, but only if you let them! November is a great time to reflect on the gains you’ve made throughout the year and put them into a meaningful perspective.
Think about all the strides you’ve made toward health this year, and let that progress inspire you as you navigate the holidays smartly. With the new insights you and your colleagues have made in health and fitness, you’ll surely realize that holiday festivities can be fun and healthy.
December: New Adventures for Winter
The days might be getting shorter, but the mountains are fresh with powder and it’s time to think about activities that happen in the winter. Whether that’s hitting the slopes, ice skating, or checking out your nearest indoor basketball gym, there are plenty of ways to stay healthy during a typically gluttonous time. Take all the tips and routines you gathered from this year and carry them with you into the next!
Employee Health and Fitness: Being a Company Partner
Health, fitness, and wellness are ideas on every managers mind in some form. Whether you’re considering how to make the office a haven for health or simply looking to introduce simple ideas for employee wellness, health concerns are the key to cutting costs and increasing productivity.
This 12-month employee fitness plan is designed to help you engage employees throughout the year. By keeping employee health and fitness front and center, the company becomes a partner in healthy lifestyles.
Thanks for reading.