“Hi-ho, Hi-ho, it’s off to work I go!” – Health and Happiness in the Workplace

Is your workforce as healthy as it could be? Are your employees achieving their full potential? According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, 70% of an organization’s benefit costs are incurred due to chronic illness issues such as cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal discomforts, respiratory diseases, digestive problems, cancer, and stress-related concerns.

Both physical and emotional health concerns impact employees’ effectiveness while at work, as well as overall operating budgets. A healthier, happier staff could mean both a better workplace environment and a healthier bottom line. It has been my experience that creating a healthier work environment takes time and requires a multi-level approach to be successful.

Both the CEO and frontline employee spend a significant amount of their waking time at work.  If either of these people is trying to make health improvements, the office space can either help or hinder them in reaching their health goals.

Many of my health-coaching clients struggle with their office environment. If you are trying to make health improvements, there is nothing worse than going to a meeting and being faced with only muffins, donuts, and coffee. Adding to that struggle, some offices have a culture of lunchtime take-out and people are often not supported in their desire to make exercise fit into their lunch breaks.

As a business owner, you can build health into the workday by setting a great example. How can you do that? Here are some tips to get your healthy office space up and running:

  • Start a walking group: maybe you can go for a quick walk during lunch or after work.
  • Provide healthier snack options at your meetings:  if someone is going out to pick up muffins, they can easily stop for a veggie and fruit tray!
  • Pick up some water jugs and make it someone’s responsibility to keep them filled during meetings.
  • Invite a guest speaker to meetings to give a small piece of health advice.
  • Make arrangements for monthly health-related Lunch and Learns.
  • Start a friendly workplace wellness competition.
  • Instead of sitting in an office for a meeting, start walking meetings.

If any of these options sound interesting, there are many resources to guide you. The National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity (NANA) has developed a toolkit for having more healthy meetings and conferences. Check out www.healthymeeting.org for more healthy meeting information.

Wellness at work doesn’t have to be complicated or costly. Start small and see what happens! Remember: a healthy employee is a happy employee.

Laurie Pinhorn - headshotLaurie Pinhorn, Holistic Health Coach, is on a mission to help people break free from old eating patterns, create personalized nutrition plans, and create real change in their lives. With a background that includes 18 years in social work and a Masters in Holistic Nutrition, she is well equipped to educate and shift perspectives.  Fueled by the truth about the food industry and armed with the right tools and strategies, Laurie is bringing true, long-lasting health and food freedom to those who crave and need change the most – one healthy decision at a time. For more information about Holistic Action visit them online at www.lauriepinhorn.comor on Facebook or find Laurie on LinkedIn.

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