Having a wellness-focused workplace can help improve your productivity and overall happiness at work, a benefit to both you and your employer. Healthier workplace initiatives may sometimes take a back-burner to seemingly more important work-related tasks, but there are things you can do to make your workplace recognize these priorities. Here are some quick and simple ideas to promote a healthier workday:
1. Make Healthy Food Choices
All of us need a little support with healthy eating. It can be particularly challenging in the office when people bring donuts to a meeting, or a vending machine filled with less-than-healthy snacks is calling your name mid-afternoon.
In order to encourage healthy eating in the office, healthy food needs to be available. If your breakroom has a vending machine, inquire about whether it can be filled with healthier options, like granola bars, trail mix or protein bars. When getting lunch takeout for working meetings, order food from healthier restaurants and start with a salad. Better yet, strive to bring your own lunch to work each day: Packing a healthy lunch at home is easier than avoiding fast food temptations around the office when you’re famished.
2. Take Your Vacation Time
Most companies offer paid time off, but many offices have a culture where employees feel like they shouldn’t take all of their earned time. Try to reverse this culture: You earned your time off, so take it. Consider taking "mental health days," where you have a day off to do whatever makes you feel healthier, attend doctor's appointments, or just relax: You don't need exotic vacation plans to have an excuse for personal time. Remember, people who use their paid time off tend to return to work refreshed and more productive.
3. Inquire About Hands-on Wellness Activities
The best way to learn is by doing. Talk to management about providing activities that teach employees how to be healthier through hands-on activities. Whether it be through a healthy cooking class or exercise demonstration, a stress-management class or meditation workshop, companies investing in these exercises can help show employees how to improve their health, a value to all involved.
4. Take Advantage of Wellness Benefits
Many companies offer subsidized gym memberships, wellness programs, or other health-related benefits. Don’t let these valuable offerings go to waste—not only do they have a monetary value, they can also better your health. If you're looking for a job, ask about whether these activities are provided—they add a lot of value to just a basic salary and benefits.
5. Incorporate Physical Activity as a Group
From taking "walking meetings" to having an informal group of colleagues take a brisk walk after lunch, being a part of a group effort is a big motivator. Talk to officemates about ideas for boosting physical activity in the office. Encourage each other to take the stairs, do some yoga stretches after a particularly long meeting, or take laps around the building at the end of the day.
6. Maintain an Open Dialogue
Talk to your supervisors about your wellness concerns and suggest any new initiatives that may help. Wellness encompasses a whole person's well-being, not just one facet, so don’t forget about work-life balance and stress. You may be surprised as to how much your manager will want to help address these concerns.
Although it is intended to be accurate, neither Walgreen Co., its subsidiaries or affiliates, nor any other party assumes for loss or damage due to reliance on this material. Walgreens does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned in the article. Reliance on any information provided by this article is solely at your own risk.
Ana Reisdorf is a licensed dietician, food lover and writer for Walgreens, which offers healthy food options and vitamins for a nutritious diet. Ana enjoys educating employees and employers alike on how to achieve a healthy lifestyle in home life and at work.