What do we know about routine? We know people who work regular shift patterns tend to develop a routine. Between waking up and going to bed it is likely that they’ll perform the same daily rituals without thought and out of habit. A poor diet and unhealthy lifestyle can far too easily become a part of that routine, and it can be hard to break out of.
Fast and unhealthy food is often easy to prepare and after a long day at work, it can seem like the best option. Sometimes, you may want the easy option and you may want to eat it whilst sitting in front of the TV, watching your favourite show. As fulfilling as it may seem, this lifestyle can be detrimental towards your health in the future.
Given that we spend large parts of our lives at work, we need to be supporting a healthier lifestyle in the work environment. If we don’t do this it can have a detrimental impact on employee health and wellbeing. As an employer, your employees’ health has to be of high importance to you. You can’t force them to exercise or eat right but you can encourage some change. Healthier employees will have a greater focus on their work and as a result they will be a lot more motivated to work hard. This has been perfectly demonstrated recently by the NHS offering Zumba to their staff (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34120675).
That said, there are many different methods that you can use to promote healthier lifestyles for your employees. One way you could do this for your employees is to start a company sports club; it could be a weekly jog or the odd game of tennis. Creating a form of exercise that your employees can enjoy together makes the task a lot less arduous. It may also boost their desire to do more exercise in their own time. You can even set up a competition as this quite often encourages people to really get involved.
Potluck is a great way to promote healthy eating in the workplace, this is when employees take turns to bring nutritious meals into the workplace for their fellow employees to share. They are less likely to nibble on unhealthy snacks and salty foods during their lunch hour and their appetite will be more fulfilled during the rest of the day.
You can’t force your employees to exercise or eat healthily but incentives always have a magical effect when it comes to motivation. Promoting a fitness challenge in the workplace with monthly rewards will motivate employees to take part, whilst simultaneously drumming up some friendly competition. Seeing the people around you making positive changes is a great influence to follow suit yourself. As an employer, if you set a shining example and promote a healthier lifestyle, you’ll be influencing your employees to do the same.
At ICE we have developed a social media platform called Puffell (www.puffell.com), which is a revolutionary new way to promote self care, self-sustainability and wellness. Puffell can act as a great place for employees to go to share and support each other in their journeys towards a healthier lifestyle. The platform allows all of the above to be done in one shared place.
We know one of the key impacts on happiness is healthy social networks, both on and off line and how people join up and how they have the opportunity to interact. Puffell builds on this, encouraging and nurturing appreciative communities in which people not only communicate but are able to form networks where they work together to achieve common goals, for themselves and their wider community. Sounds perfect for getting your workforce to improve their wellbeing.
I know it may not seem like your concern but employee health is very important for you as an employer. An unhealthy lifestyle can lead to health complications for people in the future. Health issues can lead to time off and increased absenteeism and productivity drops when employee numbers are down. Having healthy employees means longevity with regards to motivation and productivity. When in good health, your employees will also be happier.
As an employer you should take the time to check up on your employees’ health and wellbeing and sensitively discuss ways that improvements could be made. Letting your employees know that you care about their wellbeing will make them more likely to respond.
Above all else, good health and wellbeing equals happiness and you should let your employees know this at every opportunity you can.