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Promoting Health and Fitness in the Workplace:
6 Budget Tips for Small Business Owners
By Korie Cantor
As an entrepreneur, getting your employees to join the fitness bandwagon can be tricky. But if your employees are your most important asset, you have to find a way to get them started on living healthy! After all, healthy employees tend to be happier and more productive.
Then again, you don’t want your employees spending too much time on fitness related activities such that overall productivity declines. Besides, you’ve got finances to think of!
So if you thought that fitness in the workplace meant setting up treadmills and other expensive gym equipment, you’ve come to the right place. Here are 6 tips that will help small business owners promote health and fitness in the workplace on a budget.
Start at Senior Levels
If you want your employees to start putting their health and fitness first, you need to send out a strong message to them, letting them know that you think about their health and are willing to encourage them to be more active.
That being said, employees are sure to take a leaf out of their seniors’ books, so start at the managerial level primarily. Support from seniors and their readiness to adapt to the new work culture is sure to inspire all your other employees.
Have the Right Infrastructure
Having the right infrastructure is crucial in getting your employees to change their lifestyle for the better. Start with setting up a couple of working desks in every department or on each floor depending on the size of your workforce and the office layout. Do keep some stability balls so that employees can trade their chairs for them while working.
If your office has a stairwell, convert it into a walking area by keeping it well-lit. You can get motivational poster, sticker and print as freebies and put them up on the walls to remind employees to stay active.
In addition to this, revamp the breakroom and turn it into an activity zone so your employees don’t just sit there during their breaks. Have a table tennis table set up in one area so that employees can indulge in a quick game during their free time.
Also, have dumbbells, resistance bands, and jump ropes in the breakroom for employees to exercise with as and when they want to. Do allow employees to bring their own weights or bands and keep them in their lockers or drawers. Playing exercise videos in the breakroom at particular times twice or thrice each day will also motivate employees to work out.
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Encourage Employees to Get Active
If your city is cyclist-friendly, encourage employees to ride a bicycle to work instead of coming by car or public transport. Provide ample bike parking facilities so your employees aren’t put off by the idea. Make sure the bike parking is secure!
Also, offer vouchers or discounts on helmets and other safety gear to give them the incentive to burn some calories. Tying up with companies that sell safety gear can help your employees get products at wholesale prices too. What’s more, you can use the opportunity of tying up with another company to promote your own business!
Furthermore, have a system in place that logs the number of miles an employee walks or rides a bike to commute. Have billable codes for other exercises performed during break times – including walking and taking the stairs – and let employees enjoy perks like discounts or extra days off when they take a vacation. Keep in mind that sitting at a desk all day is harmful even if a person exercises regularly. So install applications or software programs on your employees’ computers that can remind them to stretch, get up and move about, and switch their chair for a stability ball every hour or two.
Make Break Times Flexible
Employees that have to follow a strict work schedule might find it difficult to take some time off to exercise or meditate. Keeping break times flexible allows employees to do whatever they want to during their free time, be it taking a 30-minute break to take a walk around the office building or taking 5-minute breaks throughout the day to stretch.
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Steer Employees Away from Bad Habits
Smoking, excessive drinking, overeating, etc. can take a toll on one’s health. So if you know that several of your employees are leading unhealthy lifestyles, help them steer away from bad habits. Note that you don’t have to go about lecturing them, just start small by giving away free nicotine patches or introducing healthy snack options in the cafeteria.
Share Wellness Stories
Create a monthly newsletter that focuses on lifestyle success stories. Print stories about employees that have taken steps to lead active and healthy lives and have seen positive changes in their lives. You can include feature stories on noted personalities in your newsletter too. Have printed copies available in the cafeteria and reception, and also e-mail digital copies to all employees so that they can read inspiring stories whenever they have the time.
It goes without saying that leading an active life is important for all individuals. However, doing so isn’t easy for everyone. As a small business owner, take the initiative to promote healthy living at the workplace and you’re sure to bring about a positive change in the lives of your employees.
With the tips given here, you now know that you can get your employees to live healthy even when you’re on a budget. So get started on implementing these tips as soon as you can!