It will likely come as a surprise that May is Global Employee Health and Fitness Month. For companies that haven’t focused on employee health beyond providing benefits, the thought of engaging in a well-being initiative may seem daunting. Will employees be hesitant to comply or feel pressured into participating? Demanding participation will likely do more harm than good, but incentive based programs are a great way to get employees motivated. Offering discounts on benefits or providing company branded fitness gear are practical ways to gain interest. Sweeten the deal by coupling those incentives with group activities like healthy potluck lunches or a 5K race sponsorship.
In 1977, the Chase Corporate Challenge, a now global 3.5 mile race series was established to encourage workplace camaraderie, health and fitness with a company only policy (no individual racers may enter). Company teams often train together and participation from employees of all fitness levels is encouraged.
Focusing on fitness is just the beginning. Many employees carry work stress with them even after leaving the office. In a recession influenced culture where 40-plus hour work weeks and very little vacation time is the standard, can employers really afford to have their workers fretting day and night? Many employees feel that staying late at the office is indicative of a strong work ethic which will, in turn, result in recognition and praise from the boss. Employers can circumvent this sometimes adverse perception by establishing reasonable deadlines and a realistic workload. Of course, there will be times when the “put your pen down at 5pm” mentality just won’t cut it, but the norm should encourage a healthy balance between work and home. After all, less stress equates to fewer missed days of work and a more productive and efficient staff. Isn’t that something every business should strive for?
Don’t wait for the next time an employee is on the verge of a meltdown. Be proactive! Embrace Health and Fitness Month and reap the benefits of having healthier and happier employees all year long. The Suites Collection encourages employees to maintain balance between work and home. What types of healthful initiatives does your office support?