As the year winds down, many people reflect on the failure of their former New Year’s resolutions — and they vow to do better next year. The fact is: New Year’s resolutions to get healthier are hard to keep. It’s easy to scribble down a few lofty goals on a stray piece of paper, but when the time comes to wake up before the sun rises and go work out, skip the free office baked goods or avoid eating junk food, few people have the will power to actually stick with it for more than a few weeks or days. Keeping up with New Year’s resolutions requires a lifestyle change, and a great way to help employees get healthy is to cultivate a healthy office lifestyle. The following tips are five ways to help employees get healthier in 2014.
Host a company-wide weight loss challenge
No one wants to be a loser, especially when it comes to losing weight. Hosting a company-wide weight loss competition can encourage the healthy competition that many people need to finally lose weight. Make sure you set ground rules for the challenge, set a weekly weigh-in day and be sure to use the same medical scales for every weigh-in so that the results are consistent. You can even offer extra perks to help employees get started, like a discounted Weight Watchers membership, free meeting with a nutritionist or discounted gym membership.
Establish a program to help employees quit smoking
Tobacco smoke is dangerous not only to smokers, but to anyone who inhales the smoke. Tobacco use results in almost 5 million deaths per year, with an expected rise to 10 million deaths by the year 2020. Implementing a smoke-free workplace initiative can help educate smokers about the dangers of tobacco and provide resources to help them kick the habit.
Offer in-office flu shots
Preventing the flu and its spread around your workplace is often as simple as getting a flu shot. However, with long hours and busy schedules, many employees may postpone getting a flu shot until it’s too late. Keep the flu from spreading around your workplace by offering flu shots at your office. The best time to offer flu shots is October through December, but any time is better than none at all. Extend the onsite flu shots to your employee’s immediate family members for the most effective results.
Subsidize the cost of healthy foods and/or fresh produce
Good health starts from the inside — and feeding the body well is the best way to stay healthy. Produce is nature’s medicine and it helps prevent many illnesses like Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, fatty liver, stroke and sleep apnea. These diseases will ultimately make your health care costs more expensive. While eating healthier seems like a simple solution, produce is quite expensive — especially when your employees have to buy enough to feed themselves and their families. While many offices offer subsidized or free gym memberships, some employers are taking it a step further by offering subsidized produce. A Minneapolis company offers a bar-coded card that employees can present at grocery stores to receive discounts on select health food items. The card is good for 25 percent off fresh produce purchases, which can add up to big savings — and gives employees a good reason to start eating healthier.
Offer in-office health screenings
Much like finding the time to go get a flu shot, taking the time out to get regular health screenings can be difficult. On-site screenings can let employees know where they stand in terms of cholesterol levels, blood sugar, mental health and more.
Living a healthy lifestyle is hard work at first, but once it becomes second nature, you’ll have healthier, happier and more productive employees. You can help by giving your employees the tools they need to succeed.
How are you staying healthy this year?