For Nutrition Month, League is asking pros from our Health Marketplace to offer tips on how to encourage your team to make healthier choices—all month long. Because we know you can’t have a healthy business without a healthy team.
Working a 9-to-5 job means spending a lot of time at the office. And the reality can be a lot of sitting at our desks and eating 1 meal—or 3 during busy times—@ work. While we could look at this scenario as bleak or depressing, we can also view it as an opportunity to use both the resources and sense of community to our advantage. 5 ways to encourage health @ work!
I’m sure we can all agree it’s often easier to make healthy lifestyle changes with a partner or friend—or better yet, with a group of friends. The more people involved, the more effective the encouragement and moral support. So if we give employees the tools and resources they need to eat well at the office, while encouraging them to take on the challenge as a team, individuals are more likely to see lasting results, resulting in a generally healthier work environment. Ready to get started? Keep reading for some super fun ideas that include a bit of team-building too.
When I started focusing on nutrition, I had a list of go-to bloggers, staple recipes and basic tips that I was always happy to share. At the time, nothing was more exciting than finding out a co-worker was also intro nutrition, visited the same blogs as me, and also ate chia pudding for breakfast. Implementing healthy habits can sometimes feel isolating, so why not get a group together and try things like healthy recipe swaps over group chats, or organize a monthly potluck where employees are encouraged to bring in their favourite healthy meal, snack or dessert?
People are often curious about their health, and are aware that there are changes they could make to their diet and lifestyle, but aren’t sure where to start. Why not bring in a nutritionist, naturopath or yoga instructor who can offer “lunch and learn” sessions on the basics of health, wellness and nutrition? While many people might not be ready to seek out the information for themselves, they may be inspired to make a change or learn more if they are presented with easily digestible health tidbits.
Do you have a kitchen, snack cupboard or vending machine at the office? Use those as opportunities to expose your team to healthy snacks like fruit, vegetables, hummus, trail mix and refined sugar-free treats. As well, most of us, particularly when we’re busy, often forget to drink enough water, so making spring or filtered water easily accessible—bonus if you can provide reusable water bottles—is a great way to encourage hydration.
As a team, why not challenge yourselves to a month without refined sugar or processed foods? Have your employees work on different health and wellness goals together, holding one another accountable in the process. If incentives or contests are an option, you could offer health-related prizes or rewards, like a gift certificate to a healthy restaurant or a paid gym membership. If they don’t have to worry about the associated costs, your staff might be more willing to experiment with different areas of health and wellness to find out what resonates with them.
Unless your office has made the transition to a stand-up desk, most of your employees sit for the majority of the day, and most of that sitting involves staring at a computer screen. Encourage them to take advantage of their lunch break to get moving—by going for a walk with a co-worker, signing up for a 45-minute lunchtime yoga class, or making it a rule to eat lunch away from their desk. And for those extra busy times, when a lunch break just isn’t possible, suggest walking meetings, remind them of the old “take the stairs” trick, or give your staff permission to head to the coffee shop around the corner instead of the one that’s right downstairs.
Providing your team with resources, opportunities and motivation are key to creating a healthy work environment. Most of us are interested—or at the very least, intrigued—by the idea of becoming healthier. Unfortunately, we often simply don’t know where to start or end up giving up somewhere along the way. If you can turn the workplace into a community of supportive, happy, healthy people, they will not only thrive as individuals, but as a team too. Teamwork for the win!