There might not be a better time than January to reach employees with a well-being message. Health- and fitness-related goals are consistently among the most popular New Year’s resolutions, but most people give up on their attempts at cleaner living by January 12. Employers have an opportunity to change this pattern by helping employees reach their fitness, nutrition, and mental well-being goals at work and at home. Here are four ways employers can help pave the way for better fitness:
Make Fitness Accessible
A perceived lack of time is one of the most common barriers to exercise, so finding ways to make workouts work for employees’ schedules goes a long way toward keeping fitness goals on track. Supporting employees who want to hit the gym or go for a run during lunch is one easy way to make fitness more accessible. Adding shower facilities and a safe place for employees to lock their bikes may make bike commuting more appealing. Even better, find group or individual fitness options that allow employees to get a workout in whenever and wherever it works for their schedule.
Cut the Snacks
There may be no such thing as free lunch, but most office workers will confirm that free snacks are a fact of life. An estimated 32% of U.S. offices provide free snacks as a perk for employees. And those snacks add up, tacking an estimated 1,300 calories a week onto employees’ intake. Think about offering healthier options to help employees make better decisions about their snacking. Replace pastries with fruit in office meetings. Or, even better, provide employees with guidance that helps them be more thoughtful about their food decisions. That way, they’re not always reaching for a candy bar or bag of chips when a hunger pang strikes at work.
Take a Break
Sometimes, the best way to focus is to take a break. Physical exercise boosts brain activity, but it’s not always easy to squeeze a workout into your day, and employees don’t always know how to take breaks that truly help them focus. Employers can offer guidance for quick breaks that will get employees out of their chairs without causing them to break a sweat. For bigger breaks, consider turning an empty office, a conference room, or a workstation into a group fitness center with a midday exercise class.
Stress stinks. It can cause headaches, heartburn, and insomnia, in addition to increasing risks of high blood pressure and heart attack. It can also lead to bad decisions in other areas. Almost 40% of adults report overeating and pigging out on junk food when they feel stressed. And when half of Millennials and 75% of Gen Zs quit jobs for mental health reasons, it’s clear work is a common denominator.
The good news is that employers can also be part of the solution. Physical activity boosts endorphins, helps people focus on something other than their stressors, and improves mood, creating opportunities. So, when employers create opportunities for employees to be active, they take an important step toward helping those employees relax. Solutions don’t have to involve physical activity, though. By giving employees tips on mindfulness and stress reduction, employers can open the door to relaxation and better overall well-being.
Committing to a healthier lifestyle can be intimidating, but with the right mind-set and support system, maintaining that commitment beyond January 12 is an accessible goal. Now is the time for employers to double down on their support of employee well-being to set their organization up for success throughout the year.
Jen Zygmunt is Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Wellbeats, a content and software-as-a-service company that delivers on-demand, virtual fitness programming for corporate wellness programs. Wellbeats is committed to delivering “fitness that fits” through more than 450 fitness classes that can be accessed anytime through iOS, Android, Windows devices, Apple® TV, website portals, or on-site options. Contact Zygmunt at email@example.com.