Identify a Class Time or Gym Time for Employees
Heading into the gym alone can be intimidating for new fitness enthusiasts, so seeing a friendly face helps encourage regular attendance. Creating a time when co-workers can attend a class together or meet with a trainer in a small group setting helps new and regular gym goers alike. Remember, designating a specific time and place is the first step to incorporating wellness into your workplace culture.
Setting times that are before and after work as well as during lunchtime helps all populations find a time that works for them. Many lunchtime crowds like to focus on activities that don’t require a long cooldown period like yoga or weight based training while the early morning and evening classes may be focused on more cardio like biking, running or swimming.
Facilitate Workout Partners and Fitness Buddies
Keeping with the idea that people like to workout with a partner, creating a board where employees can sign up to exercise with a partner or join a group creates a sense of responsibility and accountability. If you told another person you will be joining them for a game of tennis, it makes it more difficult to back out at the last minute.
If there is a group of people that are signed up to go walking or running during lunch, it is like putting an appointment on the calendar. As employees begin to embrace a corporate wellness culture, it spreads very quickly.
Make a Team Commitment to Fitness
Many organizations are working with non-profits by co-sponsoring 5k walks/runs or encouraging their workforce to create teams. By setting these kinds of goals for employees, you are encouraging them to train for the event. Remember that training means different things for different people.
For the avid runners, this may just be another race to run that month but for those just entering fitness, it is an opportunity to work toward a goal. This is a chance for employees to map out a plan for how they are going to accomplish the walk/race. This could mean starting a lunchtime walking group or a beginners running group.
Create a Company Team for Organized Leagues
Whether your company is large or small, creating a company team that is focused around a sport encourages people to get to know their fellow coworkers in a different setting. For larger companies, it can create new business connections and encourage collaboration.
For smaller companies, it is a great opportunity for those who usually play leadership roles to take a step back and be one of the team. Many cities and communities have softball, soccer, volleyball and other sports teams, check with your local community.
Bring Fitness to the Desk
Can’t leave your desk or have time to get to the gym? What if fitness comes to the employees. One of the biggest obstacles to starting a fitness routine is knowing what to do. Helping your employees learn what they can do during their everyday routine is just as important as carving out 30-60 minutes a day.
Introduce them to exercises that they can do at their desk like wall push-ups to help develop upper body strength, squats for quads and hamstrings, or simple toe touches to keep their lower backs from hurting are important for developing strength and flexibility. For low or no cost at all, you can find short videos that can guide your employees through 10-minute workouts or provide live fitness tutorials that can help them with ideas.
Host Lunchtime Classes
Some employees just find it difficult to leave the office during the day. It may be that there isn’t a gym nearby, the weather isn’t conducive for outdoor activities or they have other time constraints that limit their personal time outside of work. Consider bringing activities into the office to help employees take time for themselves.
Classes like mindful meditation have shown to help with blood pressure and relieving stress and yoga is wonderful to help with flexibility and other physical stresses we place on our bodies daily.
Plan Guest Speakers
While exercising is the primary goal, providing guest speakers who can talk about nutrition, staying injury free or how to return to exercise after an injury is just as important. It provides knowledge and motivation to your employees.
Depending on your workforce, you may choose a variety of topics to focus on or make suggestions. It is a great way to engage your employees in becoming an active part of workplace wellness.
Get Active at Company Events
Often times when companies schedule an offsite or event, they are focused on the food and the venue. Include an activity as a part of your next event. Think of adding music to a dinner to encourage dancing. For family fun events, make it a picnic that includes outdoor games or a company retreat that includes time for a hike. This reminds employees that fitness is anywhere and you are developing a culture of health.
No matter how you decide to build wellness into corporate culture, et your employees provide suggestions. An open door policy facilitates a workplace culture that is open to change and looking to improve. If there is a new exercise format that employees want to try or hear about a new technique to help with injury recovery, let the employees be your guide.
Don’t forget: the first step to wellbeing is taking that first step. Dedicate a time for you and your team to document what you would like to get out of these exercise initiatives, and be sure to prioritize the commitment you make to help them see their goals through. Remember that planning, senior leadership visibility, and celebrating small wins are the keys to incorporating health and wellness into your organizational culture.