15 Wellness Tips for Employees to Stay Healthy at Work
In the race to outpace competition and score promotions, employees often run themselves ragged. It’s not easy-breezy to stay on one’s top of their game all the time. The constant ping of notifications, the pressure to always be “on,” the endless to-do list - these are the ingredients for a workplace anxiety cocktail.
But what if neglecting one’s well-being is the real race to the bottom?
Statistics show that workplace stress
- negatively impacts productivity levels,
- hampers learning and growth, and
- affects personal lives.
The good news is that even small, customizable actions can make a huge difference. By integrating employee wellness strategies into work routines, employers can empower staff to enhance physical and mental health on the job without requiring big-time investments.
In fact, in today’s scenario, wellness initiatives have become the standard and are often expected in the workplace. Don’t fret much, though. Below is a list of the top 15 wellness tips we have curated for your dear employees to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle in 2024.
15 Tips to Improve Employee Wellness
When we hear wellness, we usually think about spas and gyms. But in reality, wellness has much more to do with lifestyle habits. I have enlisted fifteen wellness tips to pump up your employees’ health in 2024.
1. Promote Healthy Eating
Think of your brain as a high-performing engine. Just like any engine, it needs the right fuel to run smoothly. Studies indicate that diets abundant in fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fats can help reduce stress and even combat symptoms of depression. Therefore, a nutritious diet is crucial for employees to have the fuel and focus to perform at their best.
Here are a few healthy eating wellness tips for the workplace:
- Stock vending machines and common office areas with healthy foods like low-calorie drinks, hummus, fruit, protein bars, and nuts.
- Advise your employees to practice portion control to prevent overeating. Opting for smaller plates and paying attention to hunger and fullness cues can contribute to maintaining a healthy weight.
- Encourage employees to prepare homemade lunches whenever possible.
- Highlight easy-to-cook healthy recipes in company newsletters.
- Establishing regular meal times is essential for maintaining a consistent and balanced eating pattern. Encourage employees to avoid skipping meals and to eat at planned intervals throughout the day.
- Host occasional guest talks by registered dietitians and take your team out for healthy lunches.
2. Avoid Digital Eye-Strain
Digital eye strain, a.k.a. Computer Vision Syndrome, refers to a range of symptoms caused by prolonged use of digital devices. These symptoms can include:
- Blurred vision
- Dry eyes
- Eye fatigue
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Light sensitivity
A study by The Vision Council reported that more than 9 out of 10 people with DES use devices for 2 or more hours daily. DES can lead to decreased typing speed and accuracy. This, in turn, can make it harder for employees to complete tasks efficiently.
Moreover, eye discomfort and headaches caused by DES can also result in employees taking more sick leave. This further adds to the company's costs.
Hence, certain measures can be taken to avoid such detrimental repercussions:
- Install updated screen filters on all devices.
- Offer blue light-blocking computer glasses.
- Encourage employees to follow the 20-20-20 rule recommended by the American Academy of Opthalmology: Every 20 minutes, remind them to take a 20-second mindfulness break to shift their focus to something 20 feet away. You can set such hourly reminders on company devices.
- Advise employees to keep their screen about an arm's length away, roughly 25 inches. Moreover, tilting the screen slightly downward to create a downward angle of gaze is recommended for optimal comfort and posture.
Incorporate workplace libraries that promote healthy habits like reading to cut screen time.
3. Reduce Sitting Time
Excess sitting time compounds obesity, brain fog, and back discomfort over time. Not just that, The National Library of Medicine has found that prolonged sitting behavior is a risk factor for:
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Coronary Artery Disease
- Musculoskeletal Disorders, and
- Some types of Cancer.
Therefore, sparking a culture embracing regular movement and ergonomic options provides needed guardrails for all employees.
Here are some employee wellness tips you can introduce in the workplace:
- Employees should consider standing during virtual or in-person meetings when feasible.
- Individuals can use a standing desk to alternate between sitting and standing while working.
- Choosing stairs over elevators is an effective way to incorporate more movement into the day.
- To maintain good physical health, employees can perform simple exercises at their desks, such as leg lifts, seated marches, or seated squats.
Leaders and managers should set an example by incorporating movement into daily routines. When employees see leadership valuing and prioritizing physical activity, it can encourage them to do the same.
4. Introduce Workplace Ergonomics
Employees spend around 9 to 10 hours a day in an office. This adds up to around 9000 working hours over a lifetime. Bad ergonomics in the workplace often lead to Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs), commonly known as “ergonomic injuries.”
Such injuries develop when the body utilizes muscles, tendons, and ligaments in tasks that involve awkward positions or repetitive actions. This, in turn, might ultimately lead to illnesses such as pinched nerves, tarsal tunnel syndrome, connective tissue disorders, etc.
In fact, as per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate of work-related MSD cases was 26.9 per 10,000 full-time employees in 2020. Hence, the employer is responsible for providing the employees with comfortable workspaces.
Here are some good ergonomics wellness tips for the workplace:
- Ensuring good posture is crucial for preventing musculoskeletal issues. Employees should sit back in their chairs, keeping their backs straight and shoulders relaxed. The feet should be flat on the floor, forming a 90-degree angle at the knees.
- Individuals should invest in a comfortable chair with proper lumbar support.
- Advise employees to keep monitors at eye level and an arm's length away. Consider using monitor stands or arms for adjustability.
- Employees who spend significant time typing should use wrist supports or ergonomic keyboards to minimize strain on the wrists and hands.
Encourage employees to take short breaks (5-10 minutes) every hour to stand up, move around, and stretch.
5. Incentivize Employee Wellness
Let's face it: who doesn't love a little bonus or a fun perk? Incentives like rewards and recognition can encourage employees to participate in wellness activities they might otherwise neglect. These perks also encourage them to engage in preventive health measures such as routine check-ups, vaccinations, and screenings.
Moreover, they also serve as powerful tools in
- establishing sustained healthy habits,
- fostering a sense of achievement among employees,
- saving healthcare costs for companies and
- higher Return on Investment rate.
Ensuring effective employee wellness incentivization requires a thoughtful and comprehensive approach. Here are some tips employees can implement while reaping incentivization benefits:
- Employees should familiarize themselves with the details of the wellness program. This includes eligibility criteria, available incentives, and participation requirements.
- Individuals should identify their health and wellness goals. Whether improving physical fitness, managing stress, or adopting a healthier diet, having clear objectives will help them make the most of the program.
- Employees should be encouraged to engage actively in wellness activities and initiatives.
- Individuals should take advantage of the variety of incentives offered. They should choose rewards that motivate them personally, whether financial incentives, gift cards, extra time off, or other perks.
- Individuals should make use of the educational resources provided by the program. Attending workshops, reading materials, and educating themselves on health and wellness topics will help them make informed choices.
“Employees become much more motivated and productive when they know that their employer cares about their total quality of life, which goes beyond traditional wellness and includes physical, emotional, financial and social health.”
– David Ballard, Director of Center for Organizational Excellence, American Psychological Association
Suggested Read: Wellness Rewards: Prioritizing Employee Well-being
6. Foster a Mental Health Awareness Culture
In today's competitive job market, companies actively promoting mental health awareness stand out to job seekers. This is because fostering a mental health awareness culture
- helps break down misunderstandings surrounding mental health issues,
- promotes empathy and understanding among colleagues,
- helps address mental health problems, and encourages seeking professional help.
Due to this, employees learn to prioritize their mental well-being without fear of being judged or discriminated against. These health and wellness tips can be undertaken to reap better mental health benefits:
- Employers should foster open communication channels where employees feel comfortable discussing mental health concerns. Use channels like suggestion boxes for anonymous sharing, creating an open dialogue around mental health.
- Employees are encouraged to attend mental health awareness workshops organized by the company.
- Ensure employees have ready access to mental health resources, such as counseling services, hotlines, or employee assistance programs.
- You can offer flexible work arrangements when possible. This may include remote work options, flexible schedules, or compressed workweeks, allowing employees to manage their work-life balance better.
- Encourage employees to exercise regularly through gym facilities, fitness classes, or outdoor activities.
- Train managers to recognize signs of mental health challenges and offer appropriate support. The role of managers is crucial in creating a supportive workplace culture.
- Check-in with employees to discuss their well-being regularly. These check-ins can be informal conversations where managers express genuine concern for their team members' mental health and offer support when needed.
Each year, an estimated 12 billion working days are lost globally due to depression and anxiety, translating to a staggering cost of US$ 1 trillion in lost productivity.
Source: World Health Organization
7. Encourage Short Productivity Breaks
As per the State of Remote Work report, 18% of employees face issues of unplugging from work. It results in a rise in stress levels, energy drainage, unproductivity, and other mental health problems.
Hence, rejuvenate your employees, encourage short breaks during office hours, or go outside occasionally.
Organize recreational events and outdoor activities like picnics, sports, and holiday trips. A simple vacation can work wonders to keep the employees fresh. These will give them time to relax and practice self-care.
8. Encourage Healthy Sleep Behaviors
We often see an average adult fall into the trap of doom-scrolling and waking up exhausted the next day. Research says that sleep deprivation negatively impacts attention, memory, and decision-making. Therefore, employees must recognize that a solid 8 hours of sleep is crucial for effective functioning at work.
Well-rested employees are sharper, more focused, and better at problem-solving.
These are a few simple yet effective wellness tips to ensure that employees are well-rested:
- Encourage employees to develop a consistent pre-sleep routine. It can incorporate relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or reading.
- Advise employees to be mindful of late-night eating.
- Advise them to disconnect from electronic devices at least 30 minutes before sleep. Reading a book can be a great alternative.
- Employees should avoid heavy meals, caffeine, and excessive fluids before bedtime. Instead, encourage a light snack, such as a small amount of nuts or a banana, if hunger strikes.
9. Promote Physical Activity
Get the idea out of your head that you have to exercise because you need to lose weight. Physical activity has many functional benefits, including stress management and better sleep.
The Centre for Disease Control recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercises. It also recommends muscle-strengthening activities at least two days a week.
Challenge your employees in physical exercising so that it helps them attain good health. Encourage them to enroll in yoga classes, marathon events, etc.
10. Encourage your Employees to Have a Healthy Breakfast
You might have heard the adage: “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” It exists for a reason. A nutritious breakfast is pivotal in pumping up your energy levels for the day. It replenishes glucose levels, the brain’s primary fuel source. Skipping it leads to sluggishness and brain fog, making it tough to tackle those morning emails.
Here’s how you can help your employees become breakfast ninjas:
- Host quarterly breakfast nutrition seminars
- Promote breakfast nutrition tips in the company newsletter
- Email simple, healthy breakfast recipe ideas weekly
- Post studies on intranet emphasizing breakfast benefits
- Promote the consumption of fiber-rich foods for breakfast, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
- Encourage employees to be mindful of added sugars in breakfast choices. Opt for low-sugary or unsweetened options to avoid energy spikes and crashes throughout the morning.
Recognize individuals' time constraints in the morning and suggest convenient grab-and-go breakfast options. This could include yogurt with granola, a piece of fruit, or a smoothie.
11. Prioritize Self-Love
Self-love isn’t about vanity or narcissism. It’s about treating oneself with kindness, compassion, and acceptance. Employees who love themselves are better equipped to handle criticism, bounce back from setbacks, and maintain a positive outlook. This translates to increased productivity, innovation, and higher-quality work performance.
Here are a few workplace wellness tips to encourage your employees to perform:
- Suggest employees to engage in positive self-talk.
- Encourage employees to recognize and celebrate their personal and professional achievements.
- Promote the importance of setting boundaries to protect personal time and wellness.
- Encourage regular physical activity, a balanced diet, and sufficient sleep to support overall health and self-love.
- Encourage the expression of gratitude for the positive aspects of life.
- Suggest incorporating positive affirmations into daily routines.
Promote the establishment of self-care rituals that bring joy and relaxation. Whether it's a warm bath, reading a book, or practicing a hobby, these rituals contribute to feel-good factor and wellbeing.
12. Encourage Mindful Journaling
The act of journaling can be very calming and therapeutic. Putting one’s thoughts and worries on paper can help process scenarios and gain perspective. Studies have also shown that journaling can decrease cortisol levels, the stress hormone. This can lead to heightened concentration and productivity at work.
Here is how employees can inculcate mindful journaling habits:
- Suggest setting positive intentions for the day ahead. Employees can use the journal to articulate goals, affirmations, or a positive mindset to carry with them throughout the day.
- If employees undergo a tough day at work, they can write about the range of emotions they experience. And then move on to writing about the “5 things that are grateful for”.
- Encourage individuals to experiment with different journaling formats, such as free writing, bullet journaling, or gratitude journaling. Finding a style that resonates with them enhances the overall experience.
Suggested Read: 6 Journaling Benefits and How to Start Right Now
Use the Notion app for digital journaling.
13. Promote Hydration
Dehydration can trigger a cascade of stress hormones. In 2018, a study published in the National Library of Medicine cited that higher water intake was linked to a lesser risk of anxiety and depression. It also transports nutrients, regulates body temperature, and lubricates joints.
Keeping your employees hydrated can help maintain a healthy balance of electrolytes and neurotransmitters. This, in turn, will help promote a calmer, more positive mood and foster a collaborative work environment.
- Set up office filtered water stations.
- Provide your employees with infusion water bottles. This will motivate them to drink flavored water.
- Circulate articles on hydration and mental performance in the company newsletter.
- Host hydration challenges with our in-house wellness app. Reward the top hydration performers.
You can also encourage your employees to consume fruits/vegetables rich in water content. For example: melons, bell peppers, pineapples, peaches, cucumber, etc.
14. Encourage Hand Washing
All employees commute to work, touch surfaces, eat, and interact with many people. Amidst this daily bustle, contracting germs is inevitable. Therefore, reinforcing proper hand hygiene is key to curtailing the spread of illnesses.
The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention states that handwashing can help prevent diarrhea by 23-40% and respiratory illnesses by 16-21%.
Here are a few ways to ensure your employees’ hand hygiene:
- Place handwashing stations strategically- near entrances, exits, break rooms, and bathrooms.
- Provide pleasant-smelling soaps and lotions to make handwashing an enjoyable experience. Opt for natural or hypoallergenic options.
- Put up flyers about the benefits of handwashing above sinks.
- Give away hand sanitizers.
15. Make time for Meditation
Employees can’t produce their best work if their minds are fuzzed from everyday chaos. Fortunately, meditation is a simple tool to combat that by reducing stress and helping unleash their inner productivity ninja.
Meditation can also help improve one’s brain structure. When a person meditates, the brain can produce more gray matter. It leads to better brain cognition and improved memory and focus.
Research says that meditating for 30 minutes a day for eight weeks can improve gray matter drastically.
Here are a few ways to help your employees improve their meditation game:
- Start meetings with 5 minutes of silent group meditation.
- Provide designated quiet spaces.
- Invite experts and guests for talks on meditation.
- Share research-backed insights on meditation in the company newsletter.
- Encourage employees to meditate with the help of a wellness app and assign rewards accordingly.
The workplace culture significantly influences employees' health and well-being. As this blog outlines, even small changes can make a big difference. Companies can empower their workforce by implementing some wellness tips, like encouraging movement, mindfulness, healthy eating, and self-care.
Employees who feel cared for are more motivated, engaged, and productive. So, let's work together to build a culture that puts well-being first.
Wellness matters - for people, culture, and results. Commit to taking the first leap in 2024. Visit the Vantage Fit Website, your one-stop solution to integrating wellness culture at your workplace.
Schedule a demo today!
Vantage Fit - A complete AI-Powered Solution for seamless implementation of your Corporate Wellness Program to nurture a healthy and engaged workforce