Numerous studies show that physical activity and mental wellness strategies and programs in the workplace reduce employee health problems and raise overall productivity. This can be implemented in your workplace in collaboration with a registered nutritionist. Incorporating a physical activity and mental wellness program in conjunction with the nutrition program in your workforce has many benefits. These benefits can be assisting in reducing weight, relieving anxiety, depression, and stress, reducing absenteeism, lowering risks of health problems, improving sleeping patterns, and energy as well as an overall feeling of well-being.
Recent evidence indicates that prolonged sitting at your desk, which occurs in the workplace, is linked to premature mortality, heart diseases, and diabetes. Furthermore, lack of physical activity can lead to work-related illnesses and prolonged recovery. The World Health Organization (WHO) has shown to reduce sick leave by up to 32% and increase productivity by 52% when incorporating a physical activity and mental wellness program (1).
Integrating only 30 minutes (accumulated or continuous) of physical activity every day and 30 minutes of mental wellness weekly can enhance and positively boost your workplace environment. A number of physical activity and mental wellness strategies in collaboration with a nutritionist can be implemented in your workplace. Such programs found positive effects on dietary, mental and physical behaviors and improved risks of chronic health-related conditions(2-12).
The following 9-step Plan will help your organization become active and promote mental wellness:
Provide support and information
Collaborate with the nutritionist for weekly group meetings, individual sessions and up-to-date informational resources for employees.
Walking and standing meetings
Instead of the typical sit-down meetings opt for standing and walking meetings. This minimizes sedentary behavior, keeps the body active and promotes body circulation.
Promote stair use
Get employees more active by promoting stair use overtaking the elevator. You could hold a “who can take the most steps during workday” competition within each department as an incentive to increase employees to be more active.
Affiliations with local gyms
Obtain group discounts at your local gyms. A bonding of employees can be beneficial for teamwork, employee morale, etc, which can well improve work performance of employees.
Create corporate sporting events
Organize corporate sporting events and fun runs. Alternatively, the organization can sign up their employees to take part in local runs, thus promoting their organization as being a health conscience organization.
Provide onsite yoga classes
Conduct yoga and meditation sessions to reduce stress, enhance mood and motivation and create a feeling of relaxation before meetings. The workplace can be very stressful; Yoga can help to overcome this.
Create a workplace that promotes active living and wellness
Swap office furniture with equipment that gets your employees moving, energized and feeling great. Replace smoking breaks with wellness and active breaks.
Motivational signage, alerts, and announcements
Create a workplace environment that advertises active lifestyles and well-being, promotes stair use, usage of uplifting quotes that boosts self-esteem.
Provide free pedometers as gifts
A pedometer is a great tool that keeps track of steps taken throughout the day. Provides incentive to increase their daily step count. Creates a competitive, fun and interactive workplace environment.
Poor health is not only a side effect for employees, but it can be damaging to the organization. Healthier employees are happier employees and therefore enhance job performance, morale, satisfaction, and productivity. Programs that promote active, healthier and more relaxed employees in the workforce will in inadvertently lead to greater success in the organizations’ operations, savings on medical health bills, absenteeism and retention of employees. Ultimately, these health programs provide a win-win situation for both the organization and their employees.
World Health Organization (WHO). The workplace: A priority setting for health promotion 2011.
Wall J, Ni Mhurchu C, Blakely T, Rodgers A, Wilton J. Effectiveness of monetary incentives in modifying dietary behavior: A review of randomized, controlled trials. Nutri Rev. 2006;64(12):518-31.