how to support healthy habits in the workplace that’ll last beyond the summer

Healthy Summer Habits

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Summer has arrived. The weather is growing warmer, days are getting longer, the sun is shining brighter – it’s the perfect season to encourage a revamp of diet and exercise routines within a workplace.

It’s a well-known fact that employees who are in good health are less likely to need time off work and are likely to be more productive*. Which is why it makes sense for employers to support healthy habits among their employees in the office, or even when working from home. After all, these ‘environments’ shape how active we are and what we eat.

By taking just a few simple steps you can help to improve your employees’ wellbeing, productivity and happiness: 

Promote physical activity

One in four women and one in five men in England are defined as inactive*. It’s no wonder really, as more and more of us are glued to our desks for longer and longer. By promoting walk-to-work or cycle schemes, you can help employees start the day on a positive, active note.

During the day, encourage staff to get up and move around frequently - suggest going over to a colleague to ask a question rather than emailing them, or move the printer to the furthest point in the office. This will also help to create a more connected workforce.

Another great way to get your employees moving is a staff-led lunchtime exercise club. This could be walking, running or even yoga. And if you start now, when the colder, wetter months arrive, people are more likely to continue because their fitness levels (and habits) will be well and truly established.

Stock up on healthy snacks

Feeling hungry can cause low productivity. However, this feeling of hunger can simply be because employees are bored or it’s become a habit.

To avoid employees reaching for unhealthy, sugary snacks and drinks when their afternoon slump happens, provide healthy, low calorie, high fibre options for them to munch on instead, such as: 

  • Popcorn
  • Rice cakes
  • Dried or fresh fruit and vegetables

This will help your employees to stay energised and productive, right through to dinner time.

Encourage hydration

The obvious choice when it comes to feeling sluggish at work is turning to a caffeinated drink. However, these should only be consumed in moderation, otherwise they run the risk of causing insomnia, nervousness, restlessness and an increased heartbeat. 

Instead, help employees stay hydrated by reaching for water. Perhaps even gift a reusable water bottle to every person to keep on their desk, helping to monitor their water intake.

By drinking water frequently, employees will find it easier to stay focused at work and feel healthier overall.

Organise social activities

Getting employees into the habit of socialising with their co-workers can help to reduce stress at work and significantly improve mental health.

This could be as simple as Friday night drinks or a more organised team building event; either way, your employees can create healthy relationships that as a result, can foster a collaborative work environment.

Finally, habits worth adopting

By helping employees make healthier choices you’ll soon find these choices will become habits. Healthy habits that are embedded into their day to day working lives. Habits that make for a more productive workforce, helping your employees make your business stronger.

Top tips to remember:

  • Introduce ways to break up the day – encourage employees to step away from their desks
  • Promote physical activity – walking, running, cycling, even delivering a message verbally to a colleague rather than emailing, it all adds up
  • Supply healthy snacks – get employees reaching for healthy rather than sugary snacks
  • Endorse drinking water to stay hydrated – the average person should be drinking 2L per day
  • Engage with your whole workforce – even those working from home
  • Organise social activities – anyone for a lunch time run? 

Doctor Care Anywhere is at hand

If you feel an employee could do with some additional help, our doctors are on hand 24/7 and can offer invaluable support and advice on staying active. Because this summer, we want to help you bring healthy habits into your workplace and encourage your employees to get ‘hooked’ on a healthier, more productive lifestyle.

*https://ukhsa.blog.gov.uk/2018/03/07/5-ways-businesses-can-help-employees-eat-well-and-move-more/  

Last updated: 14th June 2022

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