Improving Health and Wellness in the Workplace
My husband and I spend a great deal of time at work – we are both administrators in public school districts. He is on his feet and active much more than I – as a Business Administrator I am at my desk alot.
Our schedules are demanding and we work alot of hours. Plus when we come home, we come home to two special needs children who we take turns running from one appointment to another. Something every single night and all weekend long.
To keep healthy and well there needs to be a way to manage it during the work day – we do not work in the same district so I will address mine.
The first thing I have done is to spend a great deal more time and energy planning for my meals. Prior to this year, I would purchase breakfast on the way to work, lunch at work and if I am working late – even purchasing dinner. But this year, I am bringing my lunch every day. There have been times I definitely wanted to purchase it and not worry about making my lunch but I have been trying to remain dedicated to this change. As a result – my daughter (11 years old) has been eating more healthy too because she wants to eat everything I am eating. It is a win/win situation.
But health and wellness is not just about nutrition. I have changed my diet as a means to lose weight and I certainly don’t mind the money I am saving too. That is definitely an added bonus.
There are simple things that we can do to make positive changes at work – I don’t work in a classroom so my offices have a little more flexibility. We have stairs that we can walk once every hour – possibly more. I try to make it a practice to walk them every hour but then there are many trips up and down those stairs that are necessary in the course of business. So all in all I do those stairs approximately 20 times per day.
Now that the weather is improving and everyone wants to be outside – we walk at lunch and there are so many great places to walk around our office. Not only is the walk great for exercise but the fresh air is awesome – nothing is worse than being in an office all day without seeing daylight or smelling the fresh air.
Because we are a school district – our vending machines are automatically stocked with what the state approves as “healthy options”. There are approximately 25 employees in my building and we frequently have competitions such as Biggest Loser competitions, healthy recipe swaps, incentives for healthy suggestions etc… We enjoy our friendly competitions – not only are they healthy but great for morale and it is important that people enjoy their work and the people they work with.
Studies show, for instance, that good eating habits can increase attention spans, improve memory and boost well-being. Students who maintain healthy diets, it’s said, are 41 percent less likely to perform poorly in school. Encouraging physical activity and avoiding a sedentary lifestyle can also impact health and productivity. Research shows that whether organizations provide onsite exercise facilities, subsidize gym memberships, offer access to health coaching or simply encourage employees to get up and walk, wellness programs can reduce sick days by 45 percent.
We have a district safety committee, a health committee and a wellness committee. We also provide fitness opportunities such as zumba, yoga, discounts to local fitness facilities, and we even have cafeterias that work very hard to provide staff with healthy meal options to purchase. In our situation we have 12 locations so we need to think creatively for employee options spread all across the city.
I am always looking for suggestions to increase health and wellness in our workplace – WHAT ARE YOUR SUGGESTIONS FOR HEALTH AND WELLNESS IN THE WORKPLACE?
This blog is being sponsored by Sodexo, global leader in Quality of Life Services (www.Sodexo.com)