How to Create a Culture of Health at Work

Credit: Flickr Creative Commons, iklash/

Credit: Flickr Creative Commons, iklash/

The opportunity to be healthy isn’t just limited to the time you set aside for your daily evening walk or early morning gym visit – it can be the part of your life that takes more than 1/3 of your day.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the average American spends 8.8 hours (37%!) of their day working. That’s a lot of meetings.

While you chew on that, you should know that The National Institutes of Health recently reported that Adult Americans spend, on average, 7.7 hours a day engaged in “sedentary behavior.” Whaaaaaat?

It looks like we have 8.8 hours of opportunity we can optimize to have an impact on our health and well being. You can start creating a culture in your work life right now that supports health improvement.

27 Ways to Create a Culture of Health at Work

A culture is not created by individual pieces, such as a ping pong table or installing a juice bar. Those are tools and products of a culture. Rather, a culture is formed by values.

What could some of those values look like?

Commitment

  • Pick one activity to stick with, and stick with it. i.e. “I always take the stairs!”
  • Get a buddy. Having a like-minded person to keep you committed can help keep you making the healthy choice, no matter what time of day it is at the office.
  • Schedule a recurring block of time in your calendar for stretching. Need a guide to which ones are most beneficial if you work at a desk? Try this list via Greatist.
  • Write down your nutrition, health, and fitness goals and tack them up somewhere to remind yourself of your commitment.

Fun

Laughter increases blood flow by 22%! It also boosts the immune system, stimulates circulation, enhances mental functioning, and boosts productivity.

Some suggestions of how to keep fun flowing at work, via Humor that Works:

Accountability

  • Utilize a mobile app to track your goals, since they can be updated anytime, anywhere.
  • Track your biomarkers to map your progress and keep your health data in your pocket.
  • Prioritize important appointments with the team you’ve dedicated as your health team – tele-health appointments, personal trainer appointments, nutritionist meetings, and workouts. Be accountable for the time you’ve requested with them and the goals you’ve set.
  • Using a pedometer? Join up with other co-workers that are using the same wearable and make each other aware of your goals. Tracking your activity can also keep you mindful of your fitness goal and prompt you to keep going.

Adventurousness

  • Start your day by parking farther away from your office building, and walking in. The theme song you play in your earbuds is optional, but we have our preferences.
  • If you take public transportation, get off one stop earlier to get a little more walking in. Again, it’s all about the theme music.
  • Utilize portable equipment such as resistance bands and small hand weights. The Mayo Clinic recommends taking fitness breaks for gentle stretching or mild exercises. The possibilities are (…nearly) endless.
  • Trade your desk chair for an exercise ball. Listen to 90’s pop and bounce along on Fridays. Or Tuesdays. Or whenever.
  • On a conference call? Do 15 to 30-second leg lifts underneath your desk.
  • Water break time? What a great opportunity to do a few lunges and stretch out.

For a larger list of improvements you can make to your movement at work, check out one of our recent blogs.

Preparedness

  • Be a food carrier. To keep your blood sugar stable, skip the vending machine junk food and keep healthy snack options in or on your desk. Fruit. Nuts. A jar of almond butter and a spoon can be a veritable superhero when you’re hangry.
  • Pack your lunch and sidestep the working lunch takeout. Try these quick salad suggestions for new ideas.
  • Out to lunch with a group? Take 3 minutes to look up the menu online beforehand and scout out healthy options ahead of time. Go in with a plan and walk out successful.

Achievement

  • Grab a re-usable, BPA-free water bottle and throw a few rubber bands around the bottom. Every time you drink and empty the bottle, move a rubber band to the top to keep track of how much water you drink. The Mayo Clinic recommends that men should drink roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) and women 2.2 liters (about nine cups) of water every day.
  • Write down mini rewards on slips of paper and keep in a jar at your desk. When you hit an incremental goal at work (example: 15 desk push ups every day in the week) grab a reward from the jar.
  • Keep a box of thank you cards in your desk. You’ll be ready to give gratitude for other colleagues’ achievements and you can also reap the stress-busting, immune-lifting rewards.

Positivity

These are some suggestions of values that can kick off a new way to go through your work day. Everyone’s health journey is different – so what values will drive your culture of health?

How WellnessFX can help

Rest assured, you won’t be alone in your quest to create a culture of health in your workplace to stretch beyond a walking meeting. Companies are finding more and more innovative ways to unlock health engagement in health, from purchasing wearables in bulk for their whole staff and online gaming platforms that are fun to engage with, to offline challenges and color-coded tongs in the salad bars. If you want to know more about how WellnessFX is helping companies get their employees healthy, learn more here (or pass it along to the person in your org.)

Read more of our thoughts on Corporate Health & Wellness

The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.