Ron Friedman recently wrote an article in the Harvard Business Review about ways employers can support and promote employee health. What he included and excluded were both telling. He did not mention biometric screenings or health risk assessments. Rather, he focused on ways to make living a healthier life easier. Below are brief summaries on his suggestions with a little commentary from your Wellable team.
Facilitate Physical Fitness
Physical activity has been linked to health and mental benefits through countless studies, and employers should go beyond providing employees with access to workout equipment. Facilitating physical fitness means making it easier to fit in one’s busy schedule. Some suggestions include standing/walking desks, onsite showers so employees can run or bike to work, and vouchers for tennis shoe reimbursements. All of these suggestions are great, but for the budget constrained organization, try encouraging walking meetings and promoting free mobile apps that employees can use.
Making Healthy Eating Easy
This one is simple. Cut the donuts and pizza from the office food budget and replace them with healthier and tasty alternatives. Need a scientific reason to add healthy options to the office food orders? Consuming fruit has been shown to elevate mood and creativity by providing the nutrients to produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a pivotal role in the experience of curiosity and motivation.
Foster Mental Growth
“As human beings, we have a psychological need for growing our competence. That applies to all domains in life, but it’s especially true at work. Our engagement peaks when we’re being challenged and acquiring new skills. In contrast, when our development stalls, we experience boredom and inevitably disengage.” Some good examples of companies exercising this suggestion are Motley Fool offering a book reimbursement program and Ontraport’s apprenticeship program that allows employees to shadow those in different departments. Don’t forget that your employees are full of amazing skills beyond the ones they use in their day jobs. Having employees share and teach their skills to other employees is a great and affordable way to foster personal development.
Pay Employees To Stop Working
If your employees don’t take vacation, you have a problem. Time off “is essential to top performance, an optimistic mindset, and full engagement.” Try requiring a minimum amount of vacation or getting management to exercise vacation to set an example. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, announced that he is taking two months of parental leave to benefit himself as well as set an example for other employees.