The health and wellness industry is booming. More and more people are striving to become more active, try new forms of exercise and enjoy a more balanced diet. However, despite this growing trend, many are still struggling to find the time for their healthier lifestyles.
The benefits of exercise are undisputed; research has shown that physical activity can boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing your risk of stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease*.
These benefits will have a direct impact on an employee’s work life. When employees are more confident, energetic and less stressed, they are highly likely to be more engaged and more productive at work. Additionally, a healthy lifestyle reduces your risk of many chronic conditions*; this will reduce long-term absenteeism in the workplace.
A happy and healthy workforce is clearly beneficial to employers, therefore what can businesses do to encourage and accommodate employee wellness?
Some recommendations are listed below, these will not be possible in every organisation but small changes may promote a more active lifestyle.
Offer fitness incentives. This can include anything from gym discounts, free classes at work, organised walks/runs at lunchtime, or friendly competitions around activity levels within the workplace.
Provide healthy food alternatives. Whether this is including healthy options on the canteen menu, or providing bowls of free fruit around the office, it will encourage employees to think about their nutrition.
Provide facilities. Providing showers and changing rooms at work will encourage employees to walk, cycle or run to work, as well as making it easier to fit in a gym session before the day begins.
Although many employees will be motivated and encouraged by the recommendations above, it is vital that any changes remain optional. Exercise reduces stress, so it is important to ensure that employees do not see this as an added pressure, or another task that they must tick off their to-do list. These schemes are all about balance and it is important to tailor them to your business.
*NHS referenced (https://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/Pages/whybeactive.aspx)
Written by Molly O’Donnell | Associate Consultant at Veran Performance