Creating a healthy environment for your Boston Metro office can reduce employee turnover, and may reduce sick time and health care costs. According to a study by Collier International, 59% of employers who made health-related office improvements reported a reduction in health care expenses and sick leave.
Best of all, many of the changes made by these employers were inexpensive and easy to implement. Here is a list of them, as shown in a recent issue of Inc. magazine:
1. Encourage employees to use the stairs. Cheer up the stairwell with better lighting, bright colors, and well-marked points of entry.
2. Create indoor and outdoor walking paths. Add plants and decorative touches for visual interest.
3. Place copy machines and other common resources a bit further away from the core work area. This has the added bonus of reducing machine noise in central work areas, while giving your employees more exercise.
4. Add healthy choices to cafeterias and vending machines. Fresh fruits, juices and smoothies are popular additions.
5. Reduce noise. Adding “white noise” can effectively mask background chatter and minimize distractions.
6. Offer standing desk workstations. Employees who stand at least part of their workday have a lower risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes. For best results, employees should be encouraged to move around when changing workstations. Some employers go a step further and offer “treadmill” work stations, but these haven’t caught on quite as well.
7. Add natural light to work areas, meeting rooms and conference areas. Studies show that interviews conducted in a windowless room are perceived as discouraging and intimidating to the applicant. When interviews are conducted in a room with natural light, the applicants are more relaxed and enthusiastic. If natural light makes such a significant difference in an interview, imagine the impact to employees who are in windowless areas throughout the day.
8. On-site exercise rooms are a nice benefit, but the challenge rests in getting employees to use them. Encourage employees to exercise for 20 minutes each day, in return for a free incentive, such as a healthy snacks, smoothies or other perk. Getting small groups to sign up together and work out together tends to be most effective.
Once you implement wellness changes, commit to them! Good habits take time to form. Do not be discouraged if people aren’t flocking to your walking path the first week. Lead by example; take the stairs, walk around the building, and bring healthy snacks to a meeting. Healthy changes in the workplace begin with you!
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