It is true that an organisation’s growth is directly proportional to its employees’ health. If your employees are ill, they will take sick leave frequently. Their irregularity will affect productivity. The recuperating employees usually tend to take long to get back to normal and slow down their team members too. The low energy levels of unhealthy employees reduce the pace of work and adversely affect the overall positivity of the work environment.
These are reasons enough to sit up and take note of your workforce’s health needs. Most organisations have gyms and play areas within the office. Offices of today are also including yoga or dance sessions in their daily schedule to pep up and energise their staff. And of course, health insurance and regular medical checkups are common benefits offered by almost all companies today.
But are these enough? No. Organisations that care for their workforce should go beyond the usual.
Employees go through a lot everyday — keep up with hectic schedules, try to match the fast pace of work, fulfill deadlines, deal with traffic snarls, handle family commitments, and attempt to balance work and personal life on a daily basis. Trying to achieve this balance, while keeping that smile intact on one’s face can be a brave thing to do, but it does take a toll. Not surprisingly, employees end up feeling exhausted and weak, mentally as well as physically.
But amidst the chaos of home and work, not many employees find the time to exercise, hit the gym or even take a leisurely stroll in the park.
Here are some things that organisations can do to ensure that their employees are motivated to stay fit.
Organise casual fitness contests
For instance, a competition to find the employee who takes three long flights of stairs in less than a minute; the employee who performs the maximum number of push-ups or sit-ups in a minute. A treat can be announced for those employees who are able to touch the floor with their flat palms, without bending their knees. These contests are not only a great way to take a fun break, but also make the employees realise that they need to start exercising and release the stiffness in their joints.
Allow only healthy food in the premises
Make sure that the canteen does not stock aerated or sugary drinks or salty and fried snacks. Fine the employees who are seen eating, serving, offering or carrying chips or other junk food.
Hold salad-making contests
Organise contests to test the innumerable types of salads that the employees can put together. Make sure the winning salads are tasted by all.
Implement fruit breaks
At a specific time every day, a fruit may be offered to each employee to eat. If necessary, consumption of the fruit may be made mandatory so that over a period of time the employees get used to having fruit at least once every day.
Get the employees to solve a daily crossword. The crossword may be displayed on the notice board, and the solutions may be asked to be sent in before a certain time. An attractive prize for the winner will motivate maximum employees to take part. Make the crossword puzzles department centric. Get the HR department to create a crossword for the marketing department and vice versa. This keeps the employees’ brains healthy and gives them a chance to learn more about other departments in the process.
Encourage use of public transport
Motivate your employees to commute to work by public transport. If they take the metro, ensure they cycle from the station to the office. This practice will ensure that they get to walk, run, stand and cycle a little every day. This way, the organisation will end up doing its bit for the environment too by not adding to the existing pollultion.
Create cycling clubs
Sports clubs are quite common in offices. But cycling clubs can be more popular since it gives the employees a chance to explore new locales. Most cycling clubs prefer to embark on trips early in the morning when the traffic is minimal, especially on weekends. The cyclists are forced to rise early, may be even witness the sunrise and appreciate nature at its best. Also, it is an excuse to meet and interact informally.
Work in the sun
In winters, encourage the employees to eat lunch out in the lawn or even carry their laptops outside and work for an hour in the sun. This will not only give their bodies the much required vitamin D, but will also bring them closer to nature.
Declare a no-device time
Keep aside 10 minutes, at a specific time, every day when everyone switches off their mobiles, laptops and screens and closes their eyes to meditate, introspect, snooze, or simply enjoy the silence. This will be a form of imposed relaxation and stress relief.
Put up chair-yoga poses at strategic places in the office and ensure that the employees practise at least some, if not all, of those poses to stretch their bodies and keep the blood circulation smooth.
Conduct an impromptu quiz
Quiz your employees at odd hours, without warning, about certain objects, people or billboards in the vicinity of the office. This will keep the employees observant, alert and sharp all day. The questions can be as random as, ‘Which product does the billboard behind the office building advertise today?’ Or ‘What is the name of the chaiwalla who sits around the corner?’. Make sure small but attractive prizes are offered so that employees look forward to the activity.
Gift fitness devices/apps
Employees can be gifted stretch bands, stress balls, skipping ropes and so on so that they are encouraged to exercise and use them. User-friendly mobile health applications, such as VantageFit can work wonders, as they track the heart rate, present challenges for the brain, and so on. These are designed for corporate employees, the millennials in particular, and motivate them to stay fit.
Announce photography contests
Encourage your employees to click and capture beautiful moments. Announce theme-based contests. Ensure that the theme revolves around the family, children, sunrise, sunset, and so on. Use the contest as an excuse to get your employees to spend quality time with their family and with nature. These will act as imposed breaks, which will definitely help them relax.
There is no dearth of activities out there. If you run out of ideas, organise a contest inviting original ideas for fitness-related activities. In other words, get your own workforce to exercise their brains to come up with novel ways to exercise their bodies! No matter what they exercise, the end result is assured — employee health and wellness, and therefore, business growth!