Tips for Getting Healthy in the Workplace
By: Cindy Bjorkquist, director of well-being programs at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
More than ever, companies recognize the need to support employees on and off the clock. In fact, about half of employers offer some type of health promotion or well-being program. It’s a nationwide effort proven to increase productivity, improve morale and boost employee retention. The average person spends one-third of their life on the job, making these programs a valuable investment in their longterm success.
Every workplace is different so creating a successful wellness program depends on employees’ health goals and areas of interest. From quitting smoking to financial planning, establishing promotion programs can reduce health care costs and absenteeism among staff. Here are some examples:
• Gym discounts: Employers can encourage people to be physically active with corporate
discounts at participating gyms or fitness clubs. They can also provide incentives through a healthy living program, which may monitor weight, tobacco use, blood pressure, cholesterol or blood sugar.
• Online resources: Employers may also suggest employees create an online account with their health insurance company to utilize wellness resources. This includes free health assessments, symptom checkers, medical records, fitness trackers and even recipes.
• Seminars: Some employers provide virtual seminars with experts to promote lifelong learning. Through financial planning, mindfulness, meditation, and gratitude, employees are empowered to take control of every aspect of their well-being.
• Tobacco cessation coaching: It isn’t easy to stop smoking. It takes personal, and in some cases, professional support. Employers can partner with outside organizations to provide coaching and mentoring for employees eager to break the habit.
Not every employer can offer a full spectrum of well-being programs. But there are ways employees can make healthier choices that have a similar impact. Over time, the following actions can lead to big, life-changing results:
• Drink more water: Water is more than 50% of the body’s composition and is integral to
maintaining good health. It helps flush out of toxins, removing waste and other harmful
elements. Staying hydrated is also a simple way to combat fatigue, manage weight and improve focus.
• Find an accountability partner: Coworkers who share similar health goals can create their own support system. Friendly step competitions, weekly check-ins and ongoing conversations about workplace wellness can keep them accountable and help to maintain healthy habits.
• Pack a lunch: By preparing their own meals, employees have power over food portions. This also helps to limit or avoid ingredients that may be detrimental to their goals. In addition, bringing healthy snacks to work can also curb cravings or lingering hunger.
• Step away from the chair: Workplace meetings don’t have to be stationary. Just three hours of continuous sitting can cause poor circulation and vascular damage. Consider taking a walk during conference calls. Using this time to stretch can help prevent blood clots, arterial strain, and sudden stiffness.
Cindy Bjorkquist is the director of well-being programs at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. For more health tips, visit www.MIBluesPerspectives.com.