Encouraging Healthy Employee Habits

If the pandemic serves any real purpose, it might be to remind us how important it is to be healthy, to practice healthy habits, and to help others maintain their health as well. Many businesses understand this and were already making the effort to encourage employee health well before COVID-19 struck.

Here at Baillie Lumber, we have long focused on providing employees with key health information and resources. This fall, for example, we are enabling employees to get influenza vaccines and encouraging our team members to participate in a “Fall Fitness Challenge.” And, of course, we consistently do all we can to keep employees healthy by supporting the use of masks and other proper hygiene protocols. DSC6830

Here are suggestions for encouraging your employees to practice healthy habits

Share health-related information. Many people are too busy with work and personal life to do much research on healthy eating, exercise, and other habits. As their employer, you can help team members learn more by sharing information (through emails, staff meetings, etc.), regarding good eating habits, effective weight-loss programs, and home exercise routines. Consider bringing in a trained nutritionist or exercise instructor for health-based sessions in the workplace. 

Tie wellness incentives to your company’s health insurance coverage. Since employees always want to reduce healthcare costs, offering incentives to lowering the cost of insurance coverage might be just what’s needed to boost healthy habits.

By providing the right incentives, employers can get more people involved in “kicking the nicotine habit, starting and maintain a sensible, medically-sound fitness program, losing weight, and other basic lifestyle changes that can keep valued employees healthier,” notes Nevada Small Business.

Get people up and moving! In some businesses, employees are up and about all day with various job duties. All too often, however, people are “chained” to their desks and computers, or otherwise sit through meetings as part of their work-day. Employers can help address this by encouraging people to get up and move, or by engaging in small-scale exercises they can do at their desks. Offer healthy breaks during the day, with an emphasis on people getting up and moving around.

Link health with a competitive spirit. Some people who don’t feel motivated to engage in healthy pursuits may feel differently if they take part in a friendly organization-wide competition. Look at sponsoring time-limited contests that focus on weight loss and healthy eating (employee participation should always be voluntary!) and make sure everyone understands it’s all done with the goal of attaining overall improved health.

Specific competitive challenges can involve “encouraging teams of employees to track their daily food intake each day [and] more holistic challenges involving weight loss, minutes of exercise, mindfulness, and more,” suggests the corporate wellness firm, B.Komplete.

Support measures that prevent employee burnout. Overworked and highly stressed employees can cripple a company’s output and damage its attempts to recruit talented new workers.

Like many employers, Baillie Lumber supports team members’ efforts to avoid burnout on the job. While maintaining strict adherence to customer service and delivery schedules, we almost make clear to our team that “not everything needs to be addressed immediately, whether it’s an inquiry on Ash, Walnut or Cherry lumber that comes in late at night from overseas, or a social media post from one of partner sawmills.” Such work-related demands should, of course, be handled in a timely manner, but it’s in no one’s interest to push hardworking employees to the breaking point.

It always bears repeating that, for virtually all businesses, employees are their most valuable asset. That’s why encouraging healthy living habits is important, particularly during these challenging times.

Brett Del Prince
Baillie Lumber
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