Sitting behind a desk all day can be harmful over time, however, an investment in employee health can help reverse this harm. A Willis Health and Productivity Survey found that 93 percent of healthier employees led to more productivity, engagement and satisfaction at work.
This has led to more employers starting, or expanding, workplace wellness programs to help employees be healthier, both in and out of the office. An analysis conducted by Priority Health found 88 percent of employees who engaged in wellness related activities at work felt more positive about their work culture.
With May being Employee Health and Fitness Month, Kandi Lannen, director of wellness for Priority Health, recommends these simple steps to share with employees that will result in long-term gains to your employee’s health.
1. Move more. Since the workplace is usually where employees have the most prolonged periods of sitting, encourage employees to incorporate frequent movement into their schedule throughout the workday. Moving more during the day can help tone muscles, improve posture, increase blood flow and ramp up metabolism to burn extra calories. To insert more movement, encourage employees to set movement reminders, take the stairs for simple things like using the restroom or refilling a water bottle and pace while on the phone.
2. Do a water challenge. There are many benefits of drinking water including: increased energy, weight loss, aided digestion and improved mood and cognitive function. Encourage employees to consume at least 64 fluid ounces of water each day. It may lead to cutting back on soda and other sugary drinks. Consider providing a standardized water bottle to all employees to make measurement easy (e.g. the goal is to finish three bottles while at work).
3. Send “in-person” emails. Facetime with peers is not only a good way to move more in the day, but will also help build employee relationships. Better work relationships will help your employees feel more fulfilled at work. Encourage employees to head over to a coworker’s office or desk to discuss a task or ask a question rather than sending an email.
4. Take in natural sunlight. According to research published in the journal SLEEP, there is a strong relationship between workplace daylight exposure and office worker’s overall sleep quality. This relationship helps regulate the circadian rhythm, also known as the body’s internal clock or sleep/wake cycle. Even if your office does not have a lot of windows, there are a few ways your employees can have better sleep, increased energy and productivity at work.
• Wake up at the same time each morning
• Take a daytime walk outside for an energy boost
• Unplug from technology before bed
5. Adjust computer monitor height and distance. Many employees find they have eye strain that occurs from looking at the monitor too long or having a monitor set at an incorrect angle or distance. There are simple tips that employees can do to minimize the impact from staring at a computer all day.
• Keep the top of your monitor at the height of your eyes or below
• Set your monitor at an arm’s length
• Go screen-free when possible such as going for a walk, printing off a document that needs reviewing or having a laptop-free meeting
Employee health and wellness is an important component to a good work environment. By encouraging and supporting your employees to try one or a few of these tips a week, you may find your employees’ health, energy and productivity increases.