Is your office space letting employees live their healthiest life? For health & wellness (H&W) programs to really click, sporadic events, mailers, and gestures alone may not cut it. To get employees engaged in H&W, it’s vital to walk the talk . And the best way to start is by giving the office a makeover that shows you mean business. After all, it’s hard to ignore a message that greets you around every corner!
1. Rewrite The Menu
Food can be a huge game-changer when it comes to good health. Especially for conditions like diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and heart problems, all of which are increasingly common in corporate India. Rewrite the story in your office with these little changes.
- Get the caterer at your office cafeteria to also offer some healthier choices alongside the regular fare.
- If that isn’t possible, have an option of healthy meals or soup & salad lunches delivered by a vendor for those who wish to sign up. Work out special rates so employees see the value.
- Have a fridge where employees can stock things like yogurt or fresh fruit for snacks.
- You could also go identify good healthy food options close to work that are serviced by delivery apps and keep their menus handy on your intranet and bulletin boards.
- Offer options for those seeking lifestyle changes at home too. For instance, healthi offers all corporate clients access to a network of expert nutritionists. They’ll help design custom plans for anyone who requests the service.
2. Give A Thumbs-Up To Cyclists and Walkers With These Add-Ons
Encourage employees to cycle or walk to work, especially if they live nearby.
- Set up bike racks so they can store their cycles.
- Have a shower room or two added to the bathrooms so anyone running or walking to work can freshen up before getting down to work.
- Clear dead spaces or blocked off areas to allow for walking after lunch or during coffee breaks. It will help people clear their head and get active. Adding a few plants can also make your office greener.
- Share stats on the walking routes and distances covered with each round of these circuits in the office. Make it fun!
3. Clean Up, Go Green
Your office might seem clean and healthy, but for those with asthma or respiratory disorders, it can be a nightmare. The challenge with air-conditioned spaces like most offices today is that the recirculated air makes it easy for infections to spread. One person catches the flu and the entire team lives in fear of getting it.
- Stock masks and mandate their use by those who have colds/coughs and have come to work.
- Install air purifiers.
- Have a couple of meeting spaces that are semi-outdoor or have windows that can be opened.
- Set aside a quiet corner in the cafe or terrace which can double up as meeting space for a breath of fresh air while you work.
- Add plants both indoors and outside to let nature do her thing and clean up the air naturally.
4. Make Being Active The Office Mantra
A concerted effort can help change how people work. Experts now say that NEAT or non-exercise activity thermogenesis – calories burned the rest of the day when you aren’t exercising – could hold the key to weight loss and fitness.
- Swap sitting desks for a few standing desks, available on request by rotation, for meeting rooms. Once more people show interest, you could change more sitting desks to standing ones – it is believed to help burn an additional 72 calories more per hour for a 66 kg person.
- Encourage people to walk or stand while taking phone calls or in meetings.
- Swap some sitting spaces in the cafe to standing bar counter style spaces which encourage socializing and cut sitting time.
5. Bring In the Pros!
Have yoga instructors, Zumba instructors, personal trainers, and even Bollywood dance instructors come in on rotation during the week. If you are a smaller set-up, pick the one you think most employees will go for. Depending on demand and available funds, you can make this a paid or free activity. It will get more people out of their seats and moving! When they get back to work, it’ll be with a clearer head and a spring in their step.
6. Offer Confidential Counseling And Helplines
Counseling can help bridge the gap that many in India Inc. feel today. While the stress builds up, the outlets are limited – executives don’t want to worry their families and don’t feel comfortable sharing with peers and bosses for fear of missing out on promotions or being fired for being “unable to handle stress.” Offer employees access to confidential counseling or a 24/7 helpline where they can reach out to a professional. For larger organizations, it may be worth setting up support groups moderated by professional counselors. This will give employees a place to share their worries and feel supported.
7. Create Happy Spaces
Try to design spaces to let in as much natural light as possible. With migraines and headaches being a common problem for those with stressful jobs or working long hours in front of screens, this can make a world of difference. Harsh and fluorescent lights can be painful for those with migraines.
Play piped music in common areas. It helps people loosen up and relaxes the mind. It is also said to release the neurotransmitter dopamine, which positively affects motivation.
Use wall colors and coverings that are relaxing and help you focus – colors in shades of blue or green and even natural earth tones are known to have this effect.
8. Offer Medical Help And Checks At The Office
Time is often at a premium for most busy professionals. Health checks and seeing the doctor ends up taking a back seat to everything else. But if you offer this on site at your office premises, it might encourage more people to be proactive about their health. Offer preventive care, vaccinations, and routine check-ups by scheduling doctor visits or clinic days a few times a month.
When it comes to putting in place some of these changes, it can help to have outside help. Health and wellness overhauls can be all-consuming if you try and do it on your own. Choose a partner with a strong technology platform to keep track of program performance and uptake. Partners like healthi can also take charge of the logistics and little time-consuming details for you. Employees benefit from access to expertise, specialized content, and custom health recommendations and reminders via their very own health dashboard. A win-win for everyone involved!