Health in the Workplace: 4 Ways to Get More Engagement 

Most organisations try encourage health in the workplace. Sitting at a desk for hours on end may be slowly killing the average employee, not to mention it can have an impact on productivity and costs.

When your employees come to work feeling healthier and more energised, they’re able to perform better at their jobs. Fewer sick days and accidents occur, and your health insurance costs may ultimately decrease as a result.

But teaching your employees about health and getting them to apply the training is no easy task. Not many people are interested: They’ll listen during the meetings but leave with no intention of practising what you’ve preached.

If you’re looking for ways to improve the health of your employees through training, here are four ways to boost engagement.

1. Use Statistics

Certain pointed statistics can be effective in supporting your health goals and encouraging greater participation. Here are some stats to pull from:

  • Employees who eat healthy and exercise at least 30 minutes for three times a week are 25 percent more likely to show higher job performance and find themselves in line for a promotion.
  • Employees who take care of their bodies use fewer sick days by 27 percent. That leaves more time for vacations.
  • Health insurance for both businesses and individuals can decrease dramatically when they have a workforce that eats healthy and exercises more.

These kinds of statistics may catch your employees’ attention and remind them of taking care of their bodies.

2. Host a Health Competition

Incentives don’t work for everyone, but they can boost engagement among a portion of your employees. Bring your workers together by department and have them develop a few health goals they would like to work toward together.

Ideas might include exercising at least three times a week, eating a certain amount of vegetables per day, limiting sugar intake, or drinking a given amount of water daily. Offer special incentives for those who participate or get the most points for the goals they manage to meet.

You can make this transition easier with a few changes from the executive level. Offering free gym memberships, installing workout equipment in the break room, and removing unhealthy snacks from the kitchen will show your support and encourage the goals of each employee.

3. Make Seminars Interactive

In the typical office, a lot of meetings are lecture based. A professional will address a silent group, and read off lists or share stories. This can be a useful method of communication in some respects, but it can also hinder the ability of the message to reach people.

Sitting quietly can make it difficult to listen and apply what’s being taught. Take a more proactive approach by making the health training seminars more interactive. Here are a few ideas:

  • Ask questions to encourage audience participation.
  • Split into groups and cover topics in a discussion-style format.
  • Make health goals as a team.
  • Provide opportunities for every team member to share something.
  • Bring extra resources that employees can take home and study.

4. Offer Paid Time Off

If there’s one thing most employees will hear, it’s the sound of money stripped of work. Time off without the stress of lost income can do wonders for employees who need to recoup and de-stress after a long period of working. Vacation days and holiday pay can make a world of difference in your employees’ mental health.

Many organisations are also instituting paid health days, in which employees get a full day off work in exchange for doing something that’s good for their health, such as attending a new exercise class, learning to meditate, or eating at a healthy restaurant. It’s an out-of-the-box idea, but it could lead to more success in the health realm.

None of these solutions is guaranteed to fix your problem with engagement, but they should increase participation levels. Your employees’ health is too important to ignore, and putting your best foot forward will improve both your bottom line and the comfort of your employees.

Anna Johansson

Anna is a freelance writer, researcher, and business consultant from Olympia, WA. A columnist for Entrepreneur.com, HuffingtonPost.com and more, Anna specializes in entrepreneurship, technology, and social media trends. Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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