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Health awareness in workplace

August 6, 2009

As an employer, there are many other ways you can promote health awareness and the benefits of a healthy lifestyle among your employees. Here are some further suggestions:

Talk about health. Find a local health expert – such as a nutritionist, or exercise specialist – to speak about health during a lunch or breakfast event and educate your employees.

Hold an employee sporting event. Organize a lunchtime run on a nearby bike path or trail, or on your own business grounds. Host a “bike day” where employees are encouraged to bike to work. Bring in a yoga expert to lead a 15-minute relaxation exercise in the morning. Organize a softball or volleyball tournament.

Offer free fruit at the door. Greet employees with a free, heart-healthy breakfast of apples and oranges when they walk into work one morning.

Provide free health screenings. Work with a local hospital or medical association to provide free, on-site health screenings, such as blood pressure tests and weight checks. Be sure to include resources for employees to take action on their findings.

Serve healthy office snacks. Encourage employees to serve healthy snacks, such as fruit and yogurt, during office meetings instead of the usual cookies, chips, and soda.

Share health success stories. Create a weekly communication – such as on your company Intranet site, newsletter, or via email – profiling employee health success stories, such as losing weight or training for a road race. Make it real for employees by showing them how great their co-workers feel.

Stock up on healthy food in the cafeteria. Include healthy food choices in your cafeteria, like salad bars, whole wheat bread, and vegetarian meals. Replace the candy and chips in your vending machines with healthier snacks like peanuts, granola bars, and dried fruit.

Communicate health tips. Post tips for healthy living on your Intranet site. Start a “Healthy Living” column in your employee newsletter. Hang posters in common areas that promote healthy activities, such as taking the stairs instead of the escalators and elevators.

Start a health-focused competition. Organize a weight-loss competition. Sponsor a walking challenge with pedometers to see who can walk the most steps in a week. Set up ping-pong tables in the cafeteria.

Offer employee incentives. Work with a local fitness center to provide a discounted membership for employees. Partner with a health food store to provide coupons for employees.

Communicate safety policies frequently. Make sure employees are aware of all occupational safety policies and guidelines. Display information in common areas, such as cafeterias, break areas, and rest rooms.

Share seasonal health information. For example, in the summer, share suggestions for avoiding too much sun exposure. In the winter, provide tips for cold-weather outdoor exercise. During the holidays, provide guidance for how to avoid over-eating.

Hold a health fair. Invite employees to participate in an on-site health fair. Bring in local vendors (fitness centers, health food stores, medical professionals, nutritionists, etc.) who can speak with employees about health-related topics. Serve healthy food. Give away free pedometers or water bottles. Hold a raffle for a bike, yearly membership at a health club, or gift certificate to a sporting goods store.

Have employees sign a commitment to healthy living. During any of these activities, ask employees to sign a “Commitment to Health” certificate or poster, to be displayed in a common area.

Have the boss lead the charge. Arrange for one of your company’s senior leaders to become the spokesperson for good health. Invite senior leaders to host a lunch time walk (which also gives employees opportunities to get to know leaders better). Have him or her commit to training to run a race, lose weight, or otherwise “live and breathe” the same commitment to good health that employees are being asked to follow.

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