Free or Low-Cost Activities for Worksite Wellness

7 affordable ways to promote healthy work programs.

7 affordable ways to promote healthy work programs.

by Tanisha A. Sykes

One of the best ways to take your small business from good to great is by promoting workplace wellness.

But where do you begin? Start with your employees, says Trina Laube, director of Education and Outreach for the National Wellness Institute, Inc., in Stevens Point, Wisc.

“Ask employees what motivates them, be flexible with the office hours so they can commit, and create a culture of wellness that promotes healthy living,” advises Laube.

And here’s some good news, too. You can inexpensively promote healthy habits at work with these savvy suggestions!

  1. Launch a walking challenge. Build morale with a team-building exercise that has a fitness component. “I’ve seen a challenge where people park far away, wear activity trackers and mark their progress online,” Laube says. Check out programs like Walking Works to get started.
  2. Do a heart-healthy potluck. Make a meal together each month. Chicken fajitas anyone? One person can bring the protein while the rest supply the toppings. “It’s fun and affordable, and everyone can take some home,” Laube says.
  3. Conduct meetings on the go. Give your team a midday boost by conducting standing or walking meetings. “Standing meetings are more efficient and sometimes people get more energized as they move around,” Laube suggests.
  4. Host a group activity. From Zumba and line dancing to bowling and softball leagues, spark team building while employees get fit. “Make sure groups are voluntary and have a social aspect,” says Laube. Doing activities together also can help your team feel empowered.
  5. Set up a healthy snacks station. Air popcorn, granola bars and fresh fruit are just a few of the items that you can have in baskets at meetings and in the pantry. It encourages creative exchanges and healthy eating habits.
  6. Make space for meditation. Inexpensively design a “Zen den” at work with tips from sites such as “Having a space where people can work out, meditate, or take a break can reduce stress while inviting workplace wellness,” Laube comments. If your company is small and doesn’t have enough space, ask the local fitness center for an employee gym discount in return for renting a room.
  7. Encourage volunteer efforts. Numerous studies show that giving back improves physical and emotional health. Create a customized program through organizations such as Points of Light. It teaches employees about giving back while practicing leadership skills.

Promoting healthy living in the workplace can be affordable and fun. It’s a great way to encourage team building and increase productivity, but the key to a successful program is sustainability. “It’s not just about one-time programming, but about having policies in place that allow for wellness every day,” Laube says.

Tanisha A. Sykes is a personal finance and career development expert with 20 years’ experience as a journalist. Follow her on Twitter: @tanishastips.

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