An office is more than the sum of all of its parts. An office is about the people who work in it. Now, more than ever, employers are making health a priority in the workplace. Creating a unique interest in workplace well-being and healthily engaging physical activities in the office has become the best way to cultivate a healthier company culture. Here are five ways companies can instill healthy habits that are engaging and appealing.

Get Moving

One of the most common complaints of the workplace is “chair lag” from sitting all day. Despite the break it can give the knees, sitting for prolonged periods can be extremely unhealthy. Consider utilizing stand up desks in the office space. Standing while working, even for a short time can improve posture, blood flow and brighten moods. Replacing existing padded, swivel chairs with yoga ball chairs can also be a fun and creative way for employees to refresh themselves and relax. The chairs promote a more erect posture. The locking mechanisms on the chair’s feet allow the chair to be stationary. This is great for safety or even for an occasional yoga stretch.

Related Article: Healthy Employees Are No Small Business Feat

Healthy Hunger and Hydration

Workplace munchies can lead to many swift and unhealthy digestive decisions. Especially if the large Monster vending machine near the front desk accepts cards, cash and coins. One of the most savvy health moves an office space can make is offering healthy snack options. For every Monster drink, have bottled water available. Incorporate more low fat, natural and whole grain vending options. Create a judgment free zone in the break room. Dissuade the snarky salad remarks and replace them with positive observations regarding healthy lifestyles.

Bring the Workout to the Office

Bringing in educational guests can be a fun and exciting way to break up a monotonous workweek. Have a yoga instructor come in for a Wednesday morning beginner class. Depending on the resources available to each office, a chef can even be invited to give a healthy cooking class. Enlightening office personnel on the benefits of healthy habits should be entertaining as well as educational. Health education is something that should be enjoyed as it is shared so that the participants get genuinely helpful information from their lessons.

Healthy Incentives

Implementing healthy incentives, such as a frozen yogurt discount from the local yogurt shop, can encourage healthy activities and choices both in and outside of work. Health incentives should encourage personnel to be active, make healthy choices and to implement a healthy lifestyle. Incentives should never be used to shame a worker into group participation. Some offices have physically driven incentives, such as an indoor rock-wall or a free bike. Being aware of the office culture can provide a great starting guide for the types of incentives offered to the personnel.

Create a Positive Atmosphere

Across the board, by far, the happiest employees are the most productive. Create a positive work atmosphere. Encourage office personnel to spend meaningful time with their families by offering more considerate leave options. Allow employees a “bring your kids to work” day. Have human resources personnel that are empathetic to office employees. Employers should create an atmosphere of availability and trust to show employees that they are valued members of a team.

Understanding the culture of an office is essential to the health of its personnel. Tailoring office equipment, incentives, snacks and even maternity leave is useless unless it is appreciated. When employers care enough to understand and implement the forms of incentives and health options that work for their employees, they gain respect and admiration while maintaining a loyal, healthy and happy workforce.

Author: Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. If your office is trying to save money and doesn’t currently have a vending machine, she suggests in having your business invest in a used soda machine for sale and have it stocked with healthier drink options. Follow her on twitter: @RachelleWilber

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