10 Steps To Promote Healthy Habits And Encourage Good Mental Health Of Employees A comprehensive preventive healthcare programme will help to keep employees healthy, reduce employee healthcare expenses and improve the overall performance of the business

By Dr Siddharth Kumar

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Both corporates and start-ups continue to struggle with the increasing rate of employee absenteeism. This calls for strategic actions which can reduce employees' absences and increases productivity at the workplace. A comprehensive preventive healthcare programme will come to the rescue to keep employees healthy, reduce employee healthcare expenses and improve the overall performance of the business.

You cannot overlook the magnitude of the impact employee absenteeism will have on the cost of operating business. It's time to appreciate the solutions that will encourage employees to deploy a healthy lifestyle and improve their mental health. Employees are the asset of every organization and taking care of their wellbeing will have a positive impact on teamwork, productivity, attrition rate and finally on revenue.

Every workplace should conduct workshops or programmes to encourage employees to set health and wellbeing goals. Embracing a healthy lifestyle should come from within—be it hitting the gym regularly, practicing yoga, quit smoking or eating healthy.

Also Read: Innovative Employee Management Trends That Make Workplace Exciting

Here are 10 tips on how you can inculcate a healthy culture at your workplace and encourage employees to set health and well-being goals.

  • Encourage usage of fitness trackers at office to keep a count on every step. Advise employees to take a few breaks (minimum 5-minute break) and take a stroll while interacting with their co-workers. If employees want to conduct meetings, they should do it by standing or walking rather than sitting the whole day which will trigger multiple health issues. They should take stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Many organizations today follow the practice of loading their pantry with chips, biscuits and various other snack items. Employees often get hungry amidst a lot of work pressure and tend to binge on some unhealthy snack. Corporates should start to refill their pantries with healthy food items such as nuts, protein bars, fresh fruits, whole wheat noodles and many more. Few organizations also prefer to offer free meals to keep employees happy and healthy.
  • Administration or HR should come up with innovative ideas in terms of encouraging employees to lose weight. For example, they can initiate some fun activities such as weight loss competition. Reward employees with exciting gifts if they manage to lose weight within the stipulated time. The programme should be designed more like a sales target where you earn incentives based on deals getting closed. In the weight loss programme, the more weight you lose, the more rewards you earn.
  • We all know the amazing health benefits of yoga and meditation. A weekly in-house yoga and meditation session guided by professionals will have an immensely positive impact in addressing the stress and mental-health related issues of employees. Sessions like these will help organizations indulge employees in preventive healthcare activities.
  • Organizations with the rule of completing 9 working hours in a day should allow a lunch break of 40 mins. A shorter lunch break would lead employees to go for a quick and unhealthy food options which can be consumed easily without stepping out of the cubicle. Longer lunch breaks allow employees to eat healthy food and go out for a little walk to breathe some fresh air post-lunch.
  • Sending informative emails to employees with comprehensive guidelines on healthy eating and weight loss, fact-based advice on incorporating low-fat and low-carb food in their diet chart and various ways of doing exercise at home. This requires a tie-up with a preventive solutions aggregator which can help organizations invite best therapists, yoga trainers, nutritionists and dieticians to conduct sessions or have one-on-one consultation. It will give individual employees enough space to share their problems without hesitations and get personalized advice.
  • Hosting biometric screening will help to identify the specific problems of each employee. The screening will be conducted by the phlebotomist at the workplace which includes body measurements such as height, weight, BMI (body mass index), waist circumference and blood pressure. Each employee will be asked to give a blood test and answers all the health-related questions. The results will pinpoint the health issues which requires extra care to get it recovered and provide tailored solutions to address the problems.
  • Marathons are a great way to promote a healthy lifestyle. Today more and more companies are encouraging their employees to participate in the marathon by sponsoring the events. This shows the organization's commitment to inculcating a culture of healthy environment.
  • We all are aware that smoking tobacco is injurious to health and causes deaths. According to a World Health Organization report, tobacco kills more than 8 million people each year. Prohibiting smoking at the workplace is paramount to improve the health of employees. Organizations should develop policies around anti-smoking and disapprove of creating a smoking zone in the office campus. Employees usually form the habit of occupying few corners in the office campus and light up cigarette comfortably. Employers should also organize "quit smoking' programme and encourage staff to join the programme and take a step towards a healthy lifestyle.
  • To stay ahead in this competitive world, employees today are dealing with a lot of work pressure causing mental imbalance. Employers should start taking the responsibility of helping employees develop mental strength by giving the options of working from home, stopping them from responding to emails in non-working hours and giving them enough time to engage in some other activities or hobbies (basically maintain their personal life outside the office).

Also Read: Why it's Important to Build a Good Work Culture

Don't impose healthy behavior on employees. Make slow strides

While the above points are conducive to improve the mental health and productivity of employees, forcing healthy behavioral changes will also not work. Organizations need to positively influence the eating habits and lifestyle of employees. Out of 13 waking hours, employees spend 9 hours at the office. So, helping them to build nutritional habits at workplace will keep them away from various chronic diseases.

Also Read: Here's Why Entrepreneurs Should Focus on Work Culture Before Chasing Numbers

Dr Siddharth Kumar

Founder, HelloDoc

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