This post is the last in a series on health at work.
Some workplaces offer incentives to promote health behaviours. Discounts on gym memberships or cash rewards for healthy eating can promote better health, decrease absenteeism and control costs.
Financial incentives are great. However, healthy habits can also improve without incentives. When people work in health promoting environments and with no cash rewards, they become accountable for their health. They take their health into their own hands and habits spread to others. At the end of the day, it’s more the people and less the incentives that generate health at work.
Seven tips for creating a healthy work environment
- Employees with desk jobs need to reduce their sitting time and take regular walking breaks (e.g.: a 20-minute break after working for 90 minutes) or go outdoors for brisk or meditative walks.
- With technology and devices, employees should have greater opportunity to work outside their offices or from home.
- Relaxation areas, nap rooms and shower rooms should be available in most workplaces.
- Cafeterias should meet the standards for healthy eating. Vending machines should only dispense healthy foods and drinks.
- Employees should have access to information on stress management, healthy grocery shopping, meal planning and nearby health and fitness centres.
- Encouraging laughter and humour at the workplace enhances creativity and spreads positive attitudes and healthy behaviours.
- Encouraging employees to form their own wellness group allows them to discuss and share ideas on health and make connections.
Insights from entrepreneurs
In the “Good Life Project” video below, Jonathan Fields and Clay Hebert discuss the need to rethink our workflow as more people want better work conditions. Work productivity is no longer related to the length of time people work but to how efficiently they work and the type of environment in which they work.
Fields and Hebert talk about the use of technology and alternative work methods that allow us to work remotely and create high quality work. Great written content can now be produced while walking outdoors and in beautiful parks and in less time than sitting and writing at our desks and computers.
People need to feel inspired by their work. Moving, walking, meditating, changing work environment and taking breaks are essential to our mental and physical health and productivity. Fields and Hebert suggest working in pulses of 90 minutes and taking 30 minutes breaks. They conclude that long work hours destroy our health and our lives and the myth of filling long work hours to produce the best results needs to be crushed.