January has flown by, February is flying in and we know it’s not just us when we say that Christmas already seems like a distant memory. But there’s no better time to create a healthy working environment than the present.
Here are the top ten tips to keep your team on track:
1. Keep the water flowing1
Although there is still some debate around how much water we should drink each day, most experts agree that between 6 and 8 glasses (just over a litre) is a sensible amount to keep us fully hydrated, especially now that the wintery, colder days are upon us. Regular top-ups of water help to flush out any toxins and as it’s easy to confuse thirst with hunger, water can also help your employees to cut out any unnecessary snacks2.
2. Stock up the fruit bowl
Often referred to as nature’s fast food, fruits are a healthy replacement to the crisps and chocolates that are often found in the office vending machine. They contain essential fibre, vitamins and minerals, which are important for general health and wellbeing. And although fruit does contain sugar in the form of fructose, experts suggest that there’s not nearly enough to cause genuine concern.3
3. Giving up alcohol for a month
Missed out on dry January, don’t worry, start now! Taking a month off alcohol isn’t just about giving the liver a rest but there are all kinds of health benefits for your employees and your business. When you consider a standard glass of wine has around 175 calories and a typical pint of beer has around 215 calories4, cutting it out is a great way to lose weight and boost general fitness. It can also improve sleeping patterns, enhance digestion and make people more clear-headed in the office - so it’s definitely in your best interests.
Rather than it just being a throw-away recommendation, you could offer individual prizes to those who are successful – or even organise a team night out the month after to celebrate.
4. Help your employees to quit smoking
Quitting smoking is much easier said than done. So, rather than simply encouraging employees to give up cigarettes, why not introduce an added incentive to help them see it through? This might involve giving them time off work to see their GP, paying for their therapy sessions or even offering a cash bonus when they hit a specific milestone. It’s a small price to pay if they are successful.
5. Get your team on their feet
It’s not unusual for employees to spend endless hours in front of a computer these days. But too much screen time is bad for concentration, bad for muscles and bad for business. So whether it’s a walk to the drinks machine or a stroll around the block at lunchtime, it’s good for your employees to take regular breaks and stretch their legs.
To make it a little more interesting, maybe introduce a daily ‘steps’ competition. There are all kinds of ‘tracker apps’ out there that can be downloaded. Or if you’re feeling generous, you could even provide your team with fitness trackers!
6. Suggest the stairs instead of the lift
One way to get your employees active is to suggest they take the stairs instead of the lift. This may only mean a couple of flights before and after work, but it all adds up to healthier employees.
7. Offer discounted gym membership
Free or discounted gym membership can be a great incentive for employees to get in shape – especially if there’s one close by the office. Obviously, there’s a cost implication, but when you factor in reduced absence and increased productivity, it can often pay for itself.
8. Start an early morning yoga class
If you want to prepare your team for the stresses and strains of the day ahead, there’s nothing like an early morning Yoga session to set them off on the right foot. It comes with plenty of mental and physical benefits and as long as you have space, there’s no reason it can’t take place on-site.
9. Introduce a Cycle to Work scheme
Cycle to Work schemes are simple to set up, easy to manage and won’t cost your business a penny.6 They allow your employees to lease and purchase bikes out of their gross salary, which means they pay less Income Tax and National Insurance. With traffic jams and fuel prices on the increase, it’s a great way for your employees to save money and get healthy at the same time.
10. Encourage your employees
This seems simple but is easily forgotten. It costs nothing and works like a charm. Collective goals are often much easier than struggling in isolation – partly because of the added encouragement, but also because they’re much more fun!
1 https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight/12-tips-to-help-you-lose-weight/ & https://www.nhs.uk/news/food-and-diet/six-to-eight-glasses-of-water-still-best/