How to Nurture a Health-Positive Workplace Culture

Encouraging healthy living might not feel like the responsibility of an employer. Telling your staff how to live their lives may even feel a little “nanny state” – which of course, it is. However, employees who are actively invested in their own health and wellbeing are more likely to feel happier, more motivated and more productive.

While instructing your team to live healthier lives is, obviously, a no go, providing the motivation and resources they need to engage with their wellbeing is a very positive act. Creating a workplace where staff have access to healthy food and fitness opportunities will firstly make your team feel cared for, potentially leading to successful business results and better staff engagement. It will also ensure that your staff have the opportunity to live as healthily as possible. Increase overall health within your company and you stand to see reduced sick leave and happier employees.

Workplaces – particularly offices – can be unexpectedly unhealthy spaces. From sedentary workdays and high stress experiences, to high sugar snacking and fortnightly birthday cake consumption, it can be very challenging to be health conscious at work. Consider the following steps to encourage a healthy work culture at your business….

1. Stop food-based incentives

From pizzas on Fridays, to chocolate rewards, it’s very common for businesses to reward employees with edible treats – especially junk food. Instead of foodie treats, consider incentivising and rewarding staff with alternative treats, such as massages, cinema tickets and discounted tickets for other experiences and events.

2. Provide healthy alternatives

The temptation to snack at work can be hard to resist, but providing healthy snacking alternatives could make all the difference. Consider arranging fresh office fruit deliveries, or stocking up on healthy snack options such as nuts and dried fruit to help your staff make health-conscious choices which release slow-burn energy rather than causing sugar crashes, there are numerous benefits to providing healthy snacking options.

3. Set up team fitness activities

Whether you set up a subsidised yoga class at your offices after work, or support your staff in arranging a regular run or five-a-side game, encouraging your employees to engage in physical activities can boost wellbeing and even benefit team morale in your workplace. It’s important not to pressurise your staff into any health or fitness activities. Instead, simply make a range of health-positive options available to all.

4. Encourage breaks

Long periods sitting at desks can negatively affect heart health, lumbar health and even eye health. Encourage your staff to take a 10 minute movement break – away from the screen – at least every two hours. You could try strategies such as “step challenges” using pedometers on your teams’ phones to encourage your staff to take short walks during the working day.

5. Subsidise gym memberships

Talk to your staff about the types of fitness perks they would make best use of, then incorporate them into your benefits package. Options such as ClassPasses (which can be used at fitness classes countrywide) or local gym memberships may be better for different groups of employees.

Charlotte Giver

Charlotte is the founder and editor-in-chief at Your Coffee Break magazine. She studied English Literature at Fairfield University in Connecticut whilst taking evening classes in journalism at MediaBistro in NYC. She then pursued a BA degree in Public Relations at Bournemouth University in the UK. With a background working in the PR industry in Los Angeles, Barcelona and London, Charlotte then moved on to launching Your Coffee Break from the YCB HQ in London’s Covent Garden and has been running the online magazine for the past 10 years. She is a mother, an avid reader, runner and puts a bit too much effort into her morning brew.