In the modern world, it can be hard to stay healthy with our busy schedules and hectic lifestyles. Despite having more material goods than ever, we are pressed for time and often don’t get to do what we want on our own time. Many people are afflicted with chronic illnesses, such as the 350,000,000 people around the world that are affected by some form of depression. There are some people that debate whether the modern world is healthier than the old, and still others that think the opposite. Our modern jobs usually lack exercise and a good dose of the outdoors, but they also bring us material prosperity that other generations sorely lacked.
Yet all hope is not lost, and the flip side of this is that we are constantly learning and improving upon what it means to live a healthy lifestyle. Instead of waiting for dental emergencies, we have learned to brush our teeth often and floss. Far from accepting obesity, people are now educated on how to reduce the amount of sugar they eat and get more exercise. We are getting healthier at home every year, but sometimes fall short of healthy living at work. This is a shame, because many of us have “second lives” at work that affect us just as much as the lives we live at home. To improve our health at work is to bring that health home for all.
In this article, we’ll discuss healthy living at work and how to incorporate healthy practices into your business environment. These can be large projects, like installing data center air conditioning in your technology company, or smaller things like putting flowers on the desks of your insurance agents. Whatever your business happens to be, there is a way to make it more holistic, vibrant, and healthy so that you and your employees are happier and healthier.
Making An Office Comfortable and Productive
Office buildings are not known for being the most comfortable places, and there’s a reason for that: they’re for working, not relaxing! But just because they have to be efficient and productive spaces doesn’t mean that they can’t also foster healthy living at work. If you have an office or work environment, even small changes to the decor and lighting can make all the difference. Whether that is changing the lighting or calling a commercial landscaping company to redo the outside of your building (or install gardens/plants throughout), you can make a difference in the health of your employees.
For example, it has been studied for decades now that fluorescent lights can have negative health effects on the employees that work underneath them. Long term exposure to fluorescent lights can tend to have bad effects on the eyesight and cause sensitivity that results in eye strain, migraines, and what are called “light headaches.” The sheer amount of blue light and low-frequency flicker has found to be detrimental to people’s health over a long amount of time. Considering fluorescent lighting alternatives is a surefire way to promote healthy living at work without breaking the bank.
Another simple way to promote healthy living at work is to look at the current setup of your office environment. This means the way that the furniture is set up and if it is conducive to working long-term with productivity. Many office chairs are known to cause strain to the lower back, and many office desks and keyboard setups have been found to cause tensions, aches, and pains over the years resulting in health effects such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. By searching for more humane alternatives you may be making your employees happier by giving them better tools to work with.
Last, but not least, adding plants to your office is known to be a significant mood booster and relaxer to employees. They not only add style and grace to a workspace, but can remove toxins from the air and put oxygen out into the work environment. Some of the best plants for an office are indoor plants such as the Snake Plant, English Ivy, and Aloe. All require minimal care and can thrive indoors in low light. If you have an outside environment to landscape, then hiring the services of a landscaper to install pleasant scenery, or plant fruit-bearing greenery such as blueberry bushes (which your employees may chomp on in season) can be a boon to all. It never hurts to have more greenery in a white-collar environment. If you own your own business, you may even have the option to put in an employee garden to grow various plants or allow members of your team to stress and decompress.
Cleaning Up the Work Environment
Promoting healthy living at work also means literally cleaning up your work environment if things are astray. If there are problem areas in your workspace, such as mildew or mold that have not been treated, you will probably want to call and consult with a mildew removal service so that you employees and yourself are not susceptible to illness. If there are repairs that need to be made (such as painting or undone construction), then you will be creating a more holistic and balanced work environment by getting these jobs completed.
Cleaning up literal trash in your office or work environment will also go a long way toward promoting healthy living at work. Having trash exposed and rotting inside can be a surefire way for people to get sick, or at least feel like it. At worst, someone may file a lawsuit for a disgusting work environment, and you may have to seek the advice of legal advocates to clean up another mess. It’s best to keep your work environment clean and organized so that everyone is happy.
If you happen to work in food services or a bar and you’re worried about people dumpster diving or stealing things from your location, you can also “clean up” your work environment through better security. By consulting a business security services company, you can find solution that work for you to keep your locale and associates safe. Whether this means installing security cameras, placing locks on important doors/bins, or hiring actual security guards, it can cut down on the stress of doing business and cleaning up messes by pursuing actual security solutions.
Don’t Forget Those Pearly Whites
When we’re thinking about promoting healthy living at work, we tend to be focused on our eating habits and exercise levels. That’s great because both of those things are important, but let’s not forget that protecting your teeth is an important part of overall health. Both dentists and orthodontists will affirm that keeping good care of your teeth will prevent gingivitis, bad breath, and other oral diseases that will eventually cause an employee to create an unhealthy work environment.
While orthodontists get stereotyped as being focused on aesthetics, that’s not entirely true. By including an affordable orthodontist in your business’s health insurance plan, you could be preventing disorders that your employees may suffer from down the line and therefore be incentivizing healthy living at work. When you get braces or clear aligners to correct dental problems such as misaligned jaws, also known as Temporal Mandibular Joint disorder (TMJ), they also end up preventing tension headaches and other problems associated with having improper teeth alignment.
Allowing your employees to have access to mouth wash or disposable floss after meals can be a great, easy way to incentivize healthy living at work that doesn’t cost much. It may not seem like a lot, but being able to freshen up after meals or eliminate coffee breath with some mouthwash can go a long way toward improved employee relations. It’s much easier to share close quarters and get along with someone when they’re minty fresh rather than the other way around.
Get the Law Involved (In A Good Way)
Getting a legal team involved when you’re trying to increase the options for healthy living at work may not seem like a good time, but it can actually be a lifesaver. By hiring a competent and motivated business attorney to draft employee rules or advocate for the health rights of workers, you can do quite a lot to increase the amount of relaxation and downtime that is available. If you’re in a situation where all that upper management cares about is the bottom line, but you recognize that some of your employees are frazzled or need better health benefits, a good lawyer can help you make the case that health habits are protected by law in many circumstances and should be actively promoted.
Having a good legal defense and team will also allow you to craft appropriate programs for employee health and wellness, such as building an exercise facility or allowing room in the budget for more fruits, vegetables, and other food present in break rooms or cafeterias. Lawyers may be able to craft the documents and suggest how to go about making the necessary changes toward creating the dream work environment for your employees. By making sure that employee health and wellness is both legal, moral, and flexible, you can work with the law instead of against it to create a healthy work environment.
Getting legal advocates on your side to craft employee health programs with other experts (such as nutritionists or doctors) can also help employees in their personal lives. By distributing employee guidelines for good health (such as responsible alcohol consumption, cutting down on smoking, and nutrition) you may be giving your employees valuable information that they might not have been exposed to. By promoting healthy living at work, this may translate to the home and create a better society overall.
Destress and Decompress
Perhaps one of the most important ways to convey healthy living at work is to promote an environment in which workers can both destress and decompress on their own time. Whether this is before, during, or after the workday, it’s important that employees feel as though they can process and release the accumulated stresses from their responsibilities and tasks. Whether this is encouraged through low-cost practices such as meditation, or included with employee health insurance through therapy or other talk sessions. By allowing workers and members of your team to decompress and get back to normal, you can ensure that employees stay relatively productive and happy, which is great for business.
You may also want to consider creating another type of break room in your work environment, something that is relaxation-oriented and allows for employees to recharge before going back to work. It doesn’t have to be as immersive or in-depth as companies like Google (who provide employees with beds to nap in and organic food), but it can be your company’s equivalent in which employees are encouraged and incentivized to pursue their health directives. Perhaps this could even become a friendly competition, in which employees that complete certain health-conscious activities (like carrying a step counter and completing a certain number of steps) are given rewards.
Instead of “business meetings” that are stuffy and boring, or filled with constant anxiety and stress, as a leader or team manager you can implement breathing exercises in employee gatherings to decompress. Especially in meetings that are supposed to be creative sessions filled with constructive activity, having a couple of deep breaths can be a way to get the energy flowing through the room while everyone’s blood pressure drops and oxygen goes to the brain. Science tells us that deep breathing exercises both relax people while stimulating their minds, leading this to be the perfect recipe for an in-depth creative session. You might also distribute an informational brochure to your team members teaching them about breathing exercises, allowing them to get more done without being eroded by stress and anxiety.
Lead By Example
If you really want to promote healthy living at work, there is no better way than to lead by example. Whether this means you are a team leader taking your employees on healthy company retreats, sponsoring runs/exercise sessions, or simply seen around the office eating oatmeal and drinking tea, it’s always great to lead by example. By providing a good example to people that you work with on how to live the healthiest life possible, you’ll actually be killing two birds with one stone. Not only will you be inspiring your employees to be their best selves, but to truly lead by example you will also have to get yourself whipped into shape.
So whether you focus on eating the highest quality ingredients for your lunch break, or try to make sure your employees see that you bike to work, focusing on leading by example can be an excellent way to encourage healthy living at work. It may make the difference between your employees struggling to maintain their health, or dragging through the day being nonproductive. In leading by example, you may improve your health and those around you so much that you get promoted or chosen to lead employee health initiatives. Whatever the case, there is little to be lost when one gets healthy – especially if that journey inspires others to lead their best life.