Workplace Resolutions

Jackie Furey, Director at Where Workplaces Work recently wrote this article for ThisWeekinFM offering guidance on how to support a workforce in keeping their New Year resolutions…

2019 has arrived and now that those days of celebration and over indulgence are behind us, a significant number of people will have already committed to a new year’s resolution, be it eating healthily, losing weight, getting fitter or taking up a new hobby.

Now, it may come as a disappointment to some, but a recent survey reported that only a small number of people will actually stick to their resolutions with 80% giving up before the second week of February! However, by making a few changes in the workplace, employers can support staff to -not only keep their resolutions- but also reap the rewards of having a fitter, healthier, happier workforce with a better work-life balance and improved sense of well-being.

Support a healthier diet

‘I will lose weight’ – is the undisputed king of all new year’s resolutions. Luckily there are a whole host of ways weight loss and healthy eating can be promoted in the workplace. Firstly, try and discourage staff from placing cakes, chocolates, biscuits and other such temptations in communal areas and replace these with fruit. Providing free fruit for staff has been hugely successful and replenishing this regularly means healthy habits are swiftly developed.

Working with suppliers and caterers to ensure that healthy options are always available will also help staff to make better choices. Discouraging (or even banning) the eating of food at desks will mean that staff are less likely to dine on those convenient foods that are easily consumed in front of a screen. In addition, workers will be forced to get up and move at some point in their day, preventing patterns of sedentary behaviour. A good break-out/casual dining space will encourage this movement and a healthier, more communal method of eating.

Encourage fitness

Next up on the list of popular resolutions is – ‘I will get fit’ – and the office can provide many ways of helping with this. Introducing a company gym membership- or implementing a gym in the office will work wonders for all in the organisation. This could be as simple as a running machine and a few weights in a small room (although certain equipment/ weights may require someone to supervise).

If budgetary constraints exist, then look at how you could use any space you have (for example meeting rooms that aren’t utilised in a lunch hour) and consider offering this up to staff for aerobics lessons, yoga or Pilates. A quick survey from staff will identify what their preferences may be. It may be that you have a budding instructor in your team or you could ask a professional to visit twice weekly. If these aren’t an option, simply play a workout DVD and follow the routine.

Lunchtime running clubs can be encouraged, or inter-department 5-a-side football leagues arranged, which can be promoted through emails, social media, newsletters and company intranet pages. Installing company showers will further increase staff participation and the likelihood of any staff involvement in excise at work.

If you wanted to promote cycling to work, make it an easy option by providing bike storage facilities, and lockers. Making staff aware of the Governments ‘Cycle to Work’ scheme might also be the push they need to get peddling. The scheme has been around for over 20 years and allows employees to spend up to £1000 on bikes and equipment, (tax-free), making a claimed saving of up to 42% on the overall value.

More ‘Me’ Time

Offering staff flexible hours and the option of working from home will not only allow them to participate in classes and exercise outside of work but it will also give them the opportunity to get involved in other activities or hobbies they have made a resolution to take up. Whether it is martial arts, gardening, or simply spending more time with the family, allowing staff to choose their hours or whether they work from a home or office environment, can enable them to perfect their work/ life balance.

Increase ‘Self-Care’

In a survey last year, 24% of those making new year resolutions said they need to increase their levels of ‘self-care’, (hours of sleep and relaxation, for example). Many organisations are already introducing rest- or nap areas to allow for short bursts of sleep that enable staff to rejuvenate. You could consider adding a sleep pod, reclining chairs or quiet zones that promote relaxation or naps. You could take this a step further and book an in-office massage service where professionals visit your workplace and provide massages that help with health, stress reduction, wellbeing, and motivation.

Ask them!

As always, when making any improvements or alterations in the workplace- consider the voice and opinions of your staff. Try a simple survey to find out how the workplace could enhance the personal lives of staff members, (you could make it new year resolutions themed). This will provide valuable feedback that will help develop the working environment, raise moral and improve health and wellbeing.

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