How To Create A Culture Of Wellness In The Workplace
In 2016, the Wellness Council of America named Lance Breger as one of the Top 50 Health Promotion Professionals in the U.S..
Last year, Lance shared his recommendations for how a business leader can create a culture that supports workplace employee wellness. I bring that popular blog post back for a good reminder of his suggestions.
Question: What are two to three things a leader can do to create a culture of wellness at their workplace?
Lance: Living by example is the single very greatest thing a leader can do to create a culture of wellness. Be the change you want to see in the workplace. Even the small wellness efforts are noticed like bringing a water bottle to meetings, making good food choices, leaving the office on-time, unplugging on weekends, using a standing desk and taking the stairs.
Question: What else can a leader do to demonstrate he/she values wellness for their employees?
Lance: A leader can name health and well-being as a core value of the company, department and even team. This can be positively reinforced through a staff-wide communication, senior staff meeting as well as creation of a wellness committee. But, I can't put enough importance on the power of a leader's participation with their staff in wellness activities and events.
Question: What team activities can employees do at work to promote wellness?
Lance: My company's core four:
- Activity classes - on-site yoga, meditation, boot camp
- Challenges - pedometer, sleep, water, daily stretching, fruits and vegetable consumption
- Workshops/Webinars - healthy snacking, desk stretches, meditation, stress management techniques
- Group Health Coaching - all-staff meeting for creating individual health plan
- Smoothie making in the cafe/lunch room
- Healthy Potluck Lunches
- Top Chef Competitions: healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner recipe
- Charity Run and Walks (as individuals or as a team)
- Quarterly Outdoor Outing (hiking, biking, kayaking, indoor rock climbing)
- Team-building Ropes Course
- Field Day with a variety of fitness stations
- 10 minute Recess every Tuesday at 10 a.m.
Question: What are your thoughts about the benefits of standing desks?
Lance: The average American sits for 13.5 hours per day; that is over 50% of their day! A standing desk can go a long way to improve the number of hours sitting, which can impact their health and productivity.
I feel this is the optimal working position progression:
- office chair to stability ball to standing desk
Some benefits of and standing desk are:
- More calories are burned in a standing position
- Core and leg muscles are more active throughout the day
- Circulation is better through the pumping action from leg muscles
- Greater emphasis on being mindful of one's posture
- Heightened sense of alertness and wakefulness
- Less posture-related pain changes in spine and muscle lengths from sitting
Question: What is one exercise an employee can do at work to reduce stress?
Lance: Here is one. A stretching exercise you can do sitting in your desk chair:
Lance Breger is aan 18-year veteran of the health and wellness industry, Lance has led online/on-site training programs for thousands of professionals based on his four pillars of wellness: fitness, nutrition, mind/body and ergonomics.