“This is the year. Starting January 1, I’m going to eat healthy, hit the gym 7 times a week and meditate every day,” says everyone every New Year. I would never discourage ambitious goal-setting, but doesn’t it feel a little overwhelming all at once? Remember that you now must execute all these lofty resolutions in the very same environment that created the old bad habits.
Wouldn’t it be great if we got good at executing smaller, more achievable health goals that don’t have us watching every single morsel of food and setting our alarms for 4 a.m. every Saturday morning? One way to make sure you stick with your healthy resolutions is to make sure your goals are do-able for your life, not somebody else’s. Creating small and realistic healthy habits over time is the best way to achieve health goals long-term. And part of any good health plan starts with setting up healthy habits at work, where we spend most of our time each week.
As an HR person, I understand how important it is to make sure the workplace is promoting healthy habits and sets employees up to be successful. At Delta Dental of Arizona, we try hard to make employee well-being a part of our culture. From monthly employee lunches to volunteer events—and even free toothbrushes–we believe that we should not only encourage but help create healthy habits with our employees. When Jennifer in finance or Jeanette in customer service says, “My goal is to be healthy in 2020,” I need to have an environment in place that says, “I got you!”
Here are a few easy and small changes you can make in your office to keep wellness top of mind for your employees all year long. Yes, even after January!
Walk It Out
Do you have a circular floor plan or an outdoor path that’s safe for employees to walk along? Consider measuring the length to determine how many laps total a half-mile. Print signage along the track that tells employees how many laps to complete or how many steps they’ll clock and encourage them to get out and walk a little bit during breaks. Pro Tip: Consider doing walking one-on-one meetings!
You CAN Sit With Us
Many of us are guilty of eating lunch while we work at our desks. As many as 65% of American workers eat at their desk or don’t take a lunch at all, which can feel a little isolating. A fun way to encourage more people to sit together and actually talk is to place trivia or get-to-know-you cards at every lunch table or common area. (TableTopics is my fav!) This can help spark fun conversation and break the ice for newer employees. Another option is to organize a “Lunch Roulette” where employees sign up to be assigned to a random lunchtime foursome.
Brush Up on Oral Health
We all know the dreaded feeling of realizing you ate one too many red onions for lunch or discovering a poppy seed stuck between your teeth. Setting up a little tooth brushing station in the employee bathroom with a basket of floss, toothpaste and individual toothbrushes is a great reminder to brush between meals. Not only can your employees go into their next meeting with fresh breath, but they’re battling cavities and gum disease at the same time. They’re even improving their overall health!
Set Out Safer Snacks
You probably had oodles of treats and sweets floating around the office during the holidays but January is a great time to say, “Out with the old and in with the new,”…snacks, that is. Chips and crackers are easy to grab, but if it’s within your company budget to splurge on healthier options like nuts and fruit, try setting a bowl of easy-to-peal clementine oranges in common areas to give employees a healthier option when hunger strikes.
I wouldn’t be a very good HR person if I didn’t take this opportunity to talk about health and wellness benefits–and neither would you! So, find opportunities to help your employees understand and use their health benefits throughout the year. Employees who get regular check-ups and visit the dentist are more likely to stay healthy. Did you know that dental disease is nearly 100% preventable? Make sure employees know that their health matters to you by continuing the conversation beyond open enrollment.
At Delta Dental of Arizona, we truly are the champions of your smile, and I’m proud to say that our employees have a lot to smile about! For more tips on promoting wellness ideas in your company, check out these blog posts: