Encouraging employees to walk more is the perfect way to help them improve their health. This is especially true if you have employees who must sit all day to do their jobs; more and more research is showing that sitting for hours at a time is incredibly detrimental to our health. You and your colleagues may all be at different fitness levels, but all of us can certainly benefit from taking more steps throughout the day.
How do you get your colleagues to step it up? Here are a few ideas:
Implement a company-wide walking challenge. All across the nation, companies large and small are implementing walking competitions for their teams. Why? Because walking challenges are incredibly effective. The combination of friendly competition, increased interactions between coworkers and an encouraging, supportive environment in the workplace is very powerful. Walking is easy enough that all staff members can participate without being intimidated by the office fitness buffs. You will be amazed at how well your employees respond, at how much fun they have together, and at how many of them continue healthy habits long after the challenge ends.
Get pedometers for your team. Whether or not you run a walking challenge, providing pedometers for your staff members can go a long way. A study from Stanford Medical School showed that people who use pedometers walk about 2000 steps (or about a mile) more per day than those who don’t. Putting a number on activity levels intrigues and motivates people. Just look at the rapidly growing success of FitBit, MyFitnessPal, BodyBugg, Nike’s Fuelband, and other products and devices that track physical activity.Can’t pay for your team’s pedometers out of pocket? Simply making them available for employees to purchase in the workplace is often enough. Just as Providence Health & Services, who in the last two years have sold more than 14,000 partially-subsidized LifeBalance pedometers to their employees, who continually ask for more. Employees are more likely to buy a pedometer if it’s on sale in the cafeteria and their colleagues are buying them than they are to make a separate trip to the store to pick one up on their own.
Organize voluntary group walks near the office. You can schedule these before work, after work or on employee breaks; the last option will be particularly appreciated by employees who have trouble squeezing in exercise before or after work. Make sure your colleagues know about these options by sending out email reminders or invites, posting information or sign ups in break rooms, or putting the information on the company intranet.These walks don’t have to be long treks; experts note that breaking walks up into smaller segments throughout the day is just as effective as doing it all at once. Round up a group for a 20 minute stroll before the lunch break is over. Take 10 minute walking breaks when the morning coffee starts to wear off or that mid-afternoon sluggishness sets in. Getting up and moving is all that matters. Bonus: exercise helps boost mental focus and productivity, so having colleagues take a quick stroll in the fresh air may be just what they needed to do their best work.
It doesn’t require a trip to the gym or a monthly payment. It doesn’t require expensive gear. It doesn’t require you to sweat profusely, twist yourself into a pretzel or learn complicated dance moves. You can do it before work, on your break, after dinner, 10 minutes at a time or for two hours straight. It’s the easiest, least intimidating, quickest approach to fitness, and the great majority of us are blessed enough to be able to do it on command: walking.
• Lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol)
• Raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol)
• Lower your blood pressure
• Reduce your risk of or manage type 2 diabetes
• Manage your weight
• Improve your mood
• Stay strong and fit
In fact, the Mayo Clinic notes that regular walking can reduce the risk of heart attack by the same amount as more vigorous exercise, such as jogging! So if you are looking to improve your own health or that of your organizations, remember that it’s as simple as one foot in front of the other!
Ok, you know how encouraging employee fitness and proper nutrition can help benefit your company’s bottom line. You know the importance of creating a fun and positive work environment, too.
But what about the benefits associated with helping them have fun? Well, as it turns out, engaging in leisure activities may literally be good for our health. A study done by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine on over 1400 participants showed that those who frequently engaged in leisure activities (defined as enjoyable activities individuals engage in when free from the demands of work) showed lower blood pressure, total cortisol, waist circumference, and body mass index, and perceptions of better physical function
You can’t necessarily allow your employees to engage in leisure activities at work, but how can you help them relax and recreate when off the clock? This is where you turn to LifeBalance, a company whose existence is dedicated to helping employees engage in more fun, stress-relieving (but still healthy) activities outside of work. We make it affordable for employees to find more relaxing and entertaining leisure activities with savings at thousands of recreational and wellness-related businesses all across the country. Learn more about how LifeBalance can help you achieve a happy, healthy workforce by contacting LifeBalance Sales Director Dave Miller at sales@LifeBalanceProgram.com.
Since, as an employer, you don’t have any kind of control over what employees do when they aren’t at work, this one might seem like a strange resolution for you to help with. However, more and more companies are implementing “family-friendly” policies like flex-time, job-sharing, work-from-home options, on-site child care, and more. In general, these policies allow employees to spend more time with their families throughout the work week, which is something many hard-working employees wish they could do more. Not all companies can offer a suite of family-friendly policies, but exploring your options and finding out whether you can establish a few of them can go a long way toward establishing a family-friendly workplace culture for your team.
Additionally, you can easily help your employees have fun outside of work by giving them ideas and discounts for family activities. LifeBalance tries to put a genuine focus on fun, family-friendly activities. Our most frequent users are those with children who are trying to find new, entertaining, healthy activities to enjoy together as a family. This is why program savings on amusement parks, zoos and aquariums, whitewater rafting, museums, bowling, travel and tours are so popular. The idea behind these savings is to help families not only spend time together, but to enjoy fun adventures and to make great memories together, too.
To learn more about implementing the LifeBalance Program for your organization, contact LifeBalance Sales Director Dave Miller at sales@getLifeBalancetoday.com.
Always high on everyone’s list, saving money is a a very common resolution. How do you help employees save that hard earned cash? How about implementing an employee discount program? This one is obvious for LifeBalance clients. The program is designed to help employees save money on a wide variety of activities. Perhaps staffers are trying to reduce the cost of their gym membership, hoping to save on their yoga classes or spend less on their weight management program. It might be discounts on children’s activities that would really help your employees out; savings on sports gear, camps, gymnastics lessons, admission to zoos and water parks. Maybe your employees want to cut costs on the family trip to the coast, to take the kids to a Portland Trail Blazers game or head up to the mountain to go skiing without breaking the bank. Members who take advantage of program discounts regularly find that the savings add up quickly over the course of a year.
How many of us have resolved to keep stress under control in years past? Some of your employees have surely incorporated stress management into their resolutions this year. Helping out with this particular resolution can be tough as an employer, though, since all employees handle stress differently and have different methods for managing it.
There’s almost always going to be stress on the job for most workers, but how can you help employees manage it and not take it home with them?
This is one reason why LifeBalance strives to offer a wide variety of healthy, stress-relieving activities within the program’s vendor network. Perhaps your employees would benefit from discounts on massage and spa services, allowing them to get treatment more often. Maybe they’d leave stress behind by sweating it out in a yoga or dance class. Or maybe just taking their mind off of everyday troubles with discounts on performing arts events, sporting events, hotel reservations, ski lift tickets, whitewater rafting trips and other fun activities would do the trick.
There are, of course, additional measures for you to give employees outlets for stress during the work week. For example, can you offer more flexible work schedules so that your staff can sneak a stress-relieving workout in on their lunch break, fit in that morning yoga class before work or get home in time to take the kids to taekwondo? How about organizing lunchtime walks or working with a LifeBalance Vendor to offer on-site fitness, tai chi, yoga or meditation classes? LifeBalance massage therapists are always happy to come on-site and provide chair massage for a few hours, too. It may take a little thinking outside the box, but if you can give your employees outlets for their stress, you’ll be helping a number of them achieve their resolutions while improving the overall health of your company.
As we said Friday, we will be posting 5 of the top resolutions and how employers can help their employees stick to their New Year’s Eve goals. The resolution we’re taking on today:
#2 – Eat Right:
Many people have much more difficulty eating a healthy, balanced diet regularly than they do exercising a few times a week, and this one is a little tougher for employers to help with.
Here are a few ideas:
If you have an on-site cafeteria, make sure that healthy, low-calorie options and whole foods are available. Post LifeBalance nutrition tips and articles around the office. Take advantage of the healthy recipes found in the cooking articles on the LifeBalance site; send them to your team via email once a week. Proper nutrition is something many of us have detailed questions about; how about bringing in a certified dietician or nutritionist from the LifeBalance Vendor Network to help educate your staff? A healthy cooking competition is a fun, interactive way to help the staff focus on eating right: have employees bring in their favorite low-calorie recipes over the course of the month. The staff can vote on whose dishes are best and share recipes and ideas.
The weight-loss/management success rate of those who keep food journals vs. those who don’t is much higher for those who track their caloric intake. Encourage employees to use online fitness tools, particularly the free LifeBalance Food Journal or Calorie Counter, to track their caloric intake.
Lastly, stay tuned for a nutrition-focused, employee weight management challenge coming from LifeBalance in 2013!