This may come as a surprise to you, but in 2014, the U.S.’s obesity rate reached 27.7 percent--ouch. And while this number has steadily increased over the years, it doesn’t have to. Small business owners all over the country, like you, can become part of a revolution to have healthy employees. To show you how easily this is done, here are three steps you can take. Abiding by these steps will lead to healthier, happier, and more productive employees.
What Does it Mean to Be a Healthy Employee?
What is a healthy employee? Does it mean they look like they frequent the Tour de France and are worthy of competing in the Olympics? Not exactly. A healthy employee means that throughout the day they’re making healthy choices.
Healthy choices can be the way your employees eat, the transportation they take to work, and even their stress load in a normal work day. So, how can you ensure your employees are healthy? Let’s go through three simple steps to get your employees, and you, set on a healthy-lifestyle track.
Steps to Healthier Employees
Step 1 - Decide Now to Be a Healthy Small Business
I know, this step almost sounds too easy, doesn't it? But it’s not. Think about it: how many times do you say you’re going to start going to the gym and you don’t? If you’re like thousands of other people, this is quite normal. Knowing this, you’ve got to make a commitment to promote a healthy lifestyle to your employees.
It starts with you and ends with your employees. If you want your employees to catch the healthy lifestyle bug, you’re going to have to come up with a creative way to motivate them.
Step 2 - Break the Mold, Do Something Different
One of the best ways to get your employees motivated to live healthier lifestyles is through contests. These can be friendly and non-competitive. Why? Oftentimes, employees who are highly-competitive will ruin it for the rest who are not.
Try contests with groups or teams. This way, the load is spread over multiple people, rather than just one. You can do “Biggest Loser”-style contests, or even use smart phones or computer-based apps that track your daily eating habits.
The winners can be determined by the teams or groups who were able to stick to a healthy lifestyle the longest. Remember, provide a prize to the winning group and to everyone who participates. Doing this will maintain motivation and get your employees going. The prizes can be as simple as a healthy lunch or an early day at the office. You can go the extra mile and set the prizes as a floating holiday, pedometers, gym passes, etc.
What matters is that you’re motivating your employees to be part of your healthy revolution.
Step 3 - Educate Employees
Speaking of the healthy revolution, you don’t want your employees’ fire to end when your contest is over. The point of your contest is to get them thinking about healthy lifestyles and to have a healthy workplace. To do this, educate them along the way. Show them why being healthy is important to their happiness and well-being.
Help your employees see that eating right, de-stressing, and getting up to take a walk around for fresh air are all ways to stay mentally and physically in a better state. Let them know that better health equals higher productivity and a clear mind to accomplish the day’s tasks more easily.
Lastly, educate your employees on the importance of preventative healthcare visits to check their overall health. Many doctor visits can save your employees’ lives by catching life-threatening conditions early on.
Your employees’ health is important for many reasons, but the main reasons are that good health results in a happier attitude, higher productivity, and a longer life.
Helping your employees live a healthier life isn’t too hard, either. It starts with you. By living a healthy lifestyle, implementing fun activities, and being the example, your employees will begin to see and feel the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.
How do you keep your employees healthy? We’d love to hear your creative ideas. Comment below.