The break room is a wonderful gathering spot for employees to rest, socialize and recharge. It also, unfortunately, is full of temptations. With the vending machine and coffee in easy reach, employees often indulge a little too often.
While it's important to provide a break room with benefits like these, it's also important to encourage healthy habits. HR can do this in a variety of ways. Consider these ideas for implementing a month-long employee health initiative:
Keep the first week simple. An easy way to begin is to encourage people to hydrate by drinking eight to 10 glasses of water throughout each day. Ask employees to keep water at their desks and suggest they sip water between sips of any other beverages. Add sliced citrus fruit to the break room so employees can jazz up water to taste.
Encourage people to walk more. Put signs next to the elevators suggesting the stairs. Issue pedometers to all employees. Start a weekly walking club, whether in the office or in the streets. Health experts recommend 10,000 steps a day. You could start with 1,000 steps and every week increase each person’s goal by 10 percent. Or, have teams and challenge each other to see which accumulates the most by the end of a month.
There are many ways to encourage healthier lifestyles in the office. For example, sponsor a no-coffee day and offer a variety of tea alternatives. Cater a vegetarian lunch or dinner. Pay for a yoga teacher to come in and teach a class over the lunch hour. Add a fresh fruit bowl to the break room to encourage healthier snacking. Additionally, check with your health care plan sponsor and see if they have any programs that are worth implementing.
Healthy employees are good employees. They become ill less often and are generally more happy. Plus, healthy habits rub off on others. Have company supervisors lead by example and show enthusiasm for new initiatives. Add a few fun, health-related prizes into the mix (like health store gift cards or kitchen utensils) and you're sure to get great participation.