As the weather cools and the skies get darker, our healthy habits often go out the window. With the arrival of crummy weather, it can be tempting to hunker down at work wearing a cozy sweater, with a mocha in one hand and a pre-Halloween treat in the other.
But October isn’t just about trick-or-treating and splurging on pumpkin spice lattes—it’s also Healthy Workplace Month. Less activity and more indulging during the holiday season can add up to real health costs down the line, so now’s the time to be proactive and provide your team (and yourself!) with some healthy encouragement!
Here are 8 of our favourite tried-and-true workplace wellness tips to put into action this month:
1. Make-over snack time. It’s time to ditch those sugar and salt-loaded snacks. Yes, we know they’re tasty, but they’re also to blame for that mid-afternoon energy (and productivity) slump. Invest in your employees’ health by supplying them with healthier options (think fruit, yogurt, veggies, and low-sugar protein bars) for the breakroom. Refresh your office’s supply weekly so healthy choices are always on hand.
2. Start a salad club. We all know we should be eating more veggies, but prepping salads for work lunches can seem daunting. After all, who wants to cut up all of those veggies? Make it easy and share the labour by organizing a salad club. Have interested coworkers bring in a salad topping to share with the group, and rotate responsibility for providing the greens and salad dressings.
3. Laugh. It’s true what they say – laughter is the best medicine. Studies show that laughter at work boosts immunity, increases productivity, encourages creativity, and ups feelings of job satisfaction. So go ahead: we give you permission to incorporate some levity into your workplace. Start meetings with a funny YouTube video, share an (HR-approved) joke you heard, or tell an anecdote about your hilarious toddler.
4. Get up and move. Tethered to your workstation? Make a point of walking to communicate with coworkers across the office, institute a “no lunch at your desk” rule, organize a walking club, or start each team meeting with a five-minute stretch session. While incorporating more movement at work may require a little extra effort at first, once you get into the habit, your body will thank you!
5. Stand up. Feeling stiff and lethargic? Swap out your desk with a sit-stand version. Standing more often at work can boost mood and energy levels, prevent stiffness, and reduce back pain. With the surge in popularity of standing desks, there’s now a suitable model for just about every budget.
6. Connect. Especially with darker months approaching, nurturing our workplace communities can provide a great mood boost and encourage mental wellness. So take the time to connect. Come across an inspirational quote or article? Foster community and lighten the mood by taking the time to share it with your coworkers!
7. Get cooking. Share healthy inspiration by compiling employees’ favourite pro-health recipes into a company cookbook. Distribute them via email, or have the collection professionally printed for useful, inexpensive company swag.
8. Tailor your efforts. Don’t waste your time, energy, and dollars on workplace wellness initiatives that employees don’t actually value. There are loads of different free survey tools, so put one to good use and tailor a wellness strategy to your organization.
Your Engaged HR Assignment: You care about your employees, so supporting their physical and emotional well-being just makes sense. So pick four of the above tips, and commit to implementing them in your workplace over the course of the next month. That’s only one a week, and those baby steps add up!