5 ways to encourage a healthy workplace

In between juggling business banking, working with customers and chasing down potential leads, employees need to find time to eat well and stay healthy. Unfortunately, this has become increasingly more difficult to pull off, especially for a small business.

The problem then becomes one of balancing costs versus the rewards. Fit, active staff members are likely to be more productive, and fewer problems here could equal less expenses on the part of the employer, either through health or workers' compensation insurance, or in relation to other benefits programs. That concept could inspire small business leaders to find new and creative ways to promote a healthy environment.

If that is the case, here are five simple financial tips and key strategies to encourage wellness in the workplace:

1. Find a way to stay moving
"Entrepreneurs especially don't have time to think about those things for themselves, but if they're built in [to the work environment] it makes it easier to be well throughout the day," Jamie Russo, chief of work and wellness at Enerspace, told Entrepreneur magazine.

She was talking about healthy behaviors during the work day, and one of the biggest problems faced by all employees is a lack of mobility. For example, if workers aren't motivated to get moving around the office, they might find themselves sitting in one place for eight or nine hours straight. Therefore, it is up to the small business owner to find a way to accommodate this concept. The office could have height-adjusted standing desks, alternative chairs that diversify posture or periods of time built in throughout the day that allow employees to walk around. Better yet, the company culture will promote healthy lifestyles, and people will feel welcomed to stay active during the day. 

2. Allow a business casual dress code
According to Entrepreneur magazine, one of the best ways to encourage healthy living at the office is a business casual dress code. Why is this the case? Not having to wear a suit and tie allows employees to take alternative modes of transportation to work. For instance, they can choose to bike, walk or run - something that is very difficult in fancy attire. Most offices could take this one step further, even allowing workers to go completely casual on days they don't have to meet with clients.

3. Keep junk food out of the kitchen
In most cases, the office kitchen turns into a breeding ground for dirty dishes, old food and questionable choices. This shouldn't be the case, and a company that emphasizes health and wellness will have a junk-food free space. During employee meetings, bring in better choices instead of pizza or greasy sandwiches. Fruit and cheese can make for a tasty treat as well, instead of cakes and donuts. If the entire community is on board, it will make it easier for other employees to join in.

4. Create a health and wellness committee
In order to promote health and wellness at a company, a great first step can be to institute a committee to oversee any activities, according to Great Place To Work. This can be a team of people throughout the office whose main goal is to increase employee wellness, find new opportunities and recommend changes within the office. What's more, they can also send out weekly health tips and make sure that everyone is aware of the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

5. Send out an employee survey
Throughout the year, the best way to encourage change among the workforce is to ask for opinions. Great Place To Work advised distributing a survey about health and wellness programs, because most people will have very strong opinions on the subject. Questions can include programs that they want to see, and what they want out of management in the form of changes.

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