Softworks Blog

A Healthy Workplace Is a Happy Workplace

Posted by Eimear McCarthy on Mon, Apr 4, 2016

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With Ireland’s second National Workplace Wellbeing Day approaching on Friday, April 8, we thought it was the perfect time to highlight the best practices to ensure your workplace stays healthy and happy. The National Workplace Wellbeing Day will help to improve employee health through promoting better physical activity and nutrition in the workplace.

Ireland’s workforce wants to get healthier and they believe their employers can play a role in helping them. Behaviour & Attitudes examined how healthy Ireland’s workforce is and their nationwide research found that: 

  • Two thirds (65%) of employees who participated in the nationwide survey recognise their need to consume healthier food and drink.
  • Just 15 percent said their employers provide healthy food choices in company canteens or vending machines.
  • Only one third of employees take the recommended weekly level of exercise for a healthy lifestyle.
  • Four in ten office bound workers say they are not physically active at all during their working day.

Dr Muireann Cullen of the Nutrition & Health Foundation says: “A healthier workforce is in everyone’s interest. Four out of five employees believe there is a positive link between their health and wellbeing and their company’s productivity.”

Our Top Tips for a Healthier Workplace

1. Encourage employees to incorporate healthy activities into their workday

This can easily be incorporated by introducing flexible working in to your business (if you have not already done so!) With flexible working, employees can have more time to attend the gym or go for a walk/run before they even start work or have the ability to take a longer lunch break to fit in some exercise. They will also have the option to finish before rush hour and hit the gym when it is not overcrowded.

2. Ask employees’ for feedback

Conduct an employee survey or questionnaire and find out how employees think the business can improve health. Take all the suggestions on board, even if it doesn’t work it will show employees that their suggestions are being taken on board and in return help increase engagement.

3. Start a (healthy) breakfast club

Once a week or month, start a healthy breakfast club where people bring in food to share with the office that isn’t cake-related. Think actual fresh fruit, homemade scones, smoothies, porridge with fruit/nuts – the list is endless! Nominate yourself to be one of the first to bring breakfast and set the tone.

4. Cleanse the kitchen

If your business has an open kitchen, cafeteria or vending machines, make healthy options more available and remove the junk food. Ask employees what healthy food/drinks they would like to see more of in the kitchen.

5. Invite employees to share their success

Encourage employees to share health-related efforts and success with others. If an employee is taking part in a 5/10K run, ask them to send updates to other employees and ask if anyone would like to take part with them. If your business has an internal newsletter or a newsletter/blog for customers, share the success especially if it is for a charity. This might encourage other employees to share their stories or take part in more activities.

6. Set up a sports team

Encourage health and fitness by setting up a football, tennis, or tag rugby team within your company. Team members can train during the week and take part in matches, weekends away and social activities associated with the particular sport. This can be highlighted on your website and newsletter which will also demonstrate your businesses importance of working together as a team and help increase employee engagement.

Other tips to take on board:

  • Take the stairs instead of lifts/escalators
  • If possible, cycle to work even 2 – 3 days a week
  • Bring your own lunch and snacks
  • Make sure you have a healthy breakfast – make use of flexitime by having a protein filled breakfast to keep you full of energy throughout the morning

Does your company do anything to promote health and fitness in the workplace? If so, let us know, we would love to hear from you!

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Topics: Flexitime / Flexible Working Hours Arrangement, Flexible Working, Happy Workers, Healthy Workplace