Creating a Healthy and Productive Workspace: Innovative Steps Towards Empowering your Employees

by Lewis Humphries on Sunday 24 November 2013, 6:26 AM | Category: Employee Welfare| View: 1550 views

Evolution is a relentless and fascinating entity, and one that exposes citizens to a host of social, political and economic threats. It also leads to the development of significant health issues, which can have a considerable impact across numerous social demographics. Take obesity, for example, which currently represents something of an epidemic in Western civilisations and developed economies.

In terms of Western countries, obesity is particularly prominent in the U.S.. With an adult obesity rate of more than 33%, the Central Intelligence Agency ranks it as the 18th most overweight nation in the world. Other countries located throughout Northern and Central America also feature heavily in the list, suggesting that the issue is likely to get worse before it improves.

Creating a Healthy Workplace: Assuming Responsibility for the Obesity Epidemic

While the federal government is often tasked with challenge of tackling obesity, however, it is also important that individuals and private businesses assume their share of the responsibility. Given that we spend an average of eight hours a day at work, corporations can play a particularly influential role in changing citizen behaviour and encouraging a more healthy and active lifestyle. Consider the following ways in which employers can develop a health conscious workspace while also driving greater levels of productivity: -

Create a Culture of Education

Without education or the willingness to learn, eating habits in the U.S. will never change. You must therefore create a culture of learning within your workplace, which empowers your employees to understand the merits of healthy eating and regular physical exercise. You can achieve this through a number of methods, such as hiring motivational speakers to engage your staff or partnering with local fitness instructors to deliver a multitude of exercise classes like yoga or gentle aerobics. By developing a strategy that includes both theoretical and practical learning tools, you can create a more energetic and productive workforce.

Replace Snacks and Beverages with Healthy Alternatives

One of the key issues with the typical workspace is ensuring that employees eat healthily during their lunch hour and designated breaks. While creating a culture of learning may be key, it means little if your staff cannot access healthy snacks, meals and drinks through the company premises. You therefore have a responsibility as an employer to introduce healthy consumption options in the workplace, replacing sugary snacks and drinks with more natural produce such as fruit, nuts and water. In terms of the later, you may also consider installing ionized water dispensers, as this type of fluid is rich in antioxidants and more conducive to an active and energetic lifestyle. It is also important to think commercially, however, so take the time required to determine which water ionizer has the best warranty.

Incentivize Healthy Living   

On a final note, it may be worth incentivizing healthy living as though it was a core employee objective. While creating a culture of learning will help employees to prioritise the development of a healthy and active lifestyle, establishing clearly defined incentives will serve to underline your own commitment to the cause. They can be financial or otherwise, but the key thing to remember is that these incentives deliver a genuine reward for staff members who commit to the demands of healthy living and regular physical exercise. One of the most popular incentives sees corporations cover an additional percentage of their employees health insurance costs, supplementing premiums based on the attainment of certain biometric standards. These may centre around Body Mass Index (BMI), cholesterol or blood sugar levels, depending on the underlying theme of the companies drive and its overall goals.

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