The average Australian spends a third of their life at work – that’s potentially a lot of time slouched at a desk and a few too many 3 o’clock sugary energy hits. As chronic disease rates sky rocket in Australia it’s time we think seriously about how workplaces could help reduce diabetes, heart disease, obesity and some cancers, by promoting healthy lifestyles. There are many low cost and low effort solutions workplaces can implement to keep employees healthy.
1. Make friends in high places
Making changes to workplace environments and culture needs executive support. Speak to management about the benefits of being a healthy workplace – improved staff morale, increased staff retention, improved productivity and reduced sick leave. To help build your business case and calculate the ROI for your business check out this workplace health savings calculator http://www.gethealthyatwork.com.au/en/BusinessRegistration/Workplace-health-savings-calculator.aspx
2. Be targeted
Any change you make will be most effective if it addresses a need. The same can be said for being a successful business, you have to have a target and meet their needs. Look at your workforce, what are their needs? Are they inactive? Eating poorly? Smokers? Stressed?
3. Start with a simple nudge
Creating a healthy workplace isn’t about removing all the ‘bad’ things, it is about providing more opportunities for the ‘good’ things and a little nudge for people to make healthier decisions. A few simple things you could try are – moving printers and copiers further away from desks, provide healthy food at staff BBQs, introduce standing or walking meetings, or introduce a few healthy snacks in the vending machine.
4. Walk the talk
Once you’ve started with a few simple changes it’s time to be serious – what can your workplace do to help people make big lifestyle changes? Consider things like purchasing standing work stations, providing a lunchroom fruit bowl, or providing facilities to support people to ride push bikes to work and even out to work related meetings. Don’t forget just because it’s there doesn’t mean it will be used, you’ll need to promote these new initiatives to staff and encourage uptake, behaviour change takes time and education.
5. Get support
Sign up for Get Healthy @ Work – this is a completely free government funded workplace health program. Get Healthy @ Work gives businesses the opportunity to work with an accredited workplace health provider who can provide 15 minute health checks to employees and develop a simple action plan to address healthy eating, physical activity, healthy weight, active travel, smoking or harmful alcohol consumption. Sign up today at www.gethealthyatwork.com.au