Being physically active is important for a healthy body and a healthy mind. It’s not enough to tell your employees to engage in more physical activity. Chances are they already know that. We need to provide a worksite culture where physical activity is not only encouraged, but employees have opportunities to engage in physical activity during the workday, and being active is part of the norm.
Look within and around your organization to see what is currently enabling physical activity and what can be changed or improved. Does your workplace have secured bike storage? How strict is your dress code? The goal is to make the healthy choice the easy behavior. When employees are provided with on-site fitness classes, walking meetings, subsidized membership to a local gym, or a walking path with mile markers on or near the workplace, people are more likely to go for a walk and engage in regular physical activity.
Simple organizational changes at the workplace can make it easier for people to be more active. Examples include, flex time policies to allow employees to take an exercise class at lunch and installing bike racks and showers at the workplace to encourage staff to be more physically active by commuting to work. Other examples include organizing walking meetings, making changes to the appearance of the stairwells, or implementing an organization-wide policy that incorporates a few minutes of movement/stretching into meetings that are longer than one hour in length. Small changes like these at the workplace can make a big difference in employee health.
The profitability and vitality of your business depends on your ability to positively influence the health of the individuals who ultimately determine organizational success—your employees! Start now…start small “if needed” and scale up. Assess some of your current policies today to see if your culture supports physical activity during the day.