8 Steps to Better Employee Health

Anna Kleiner

Employee health is making headlines nationwide, and you want to get your workforce in on the action. There’s just one problem: you have no idea where to start. You’ve read about onsite clinics, onsite wellness programs, and insurance incentives and rewards; and while they all seem great, they’re a little intimidating too. You’re looking for something you can start doing today to make a big impact tomorrow.

There are 8 simple things you can start doing right away that can make a major impact toward better employee health.

1. Walking meetings.

Walking for even fifteen minutes a day has proven to create a multitude of health benefits. Many meetings don’t require a presentation, which means most can just as easily be conducted while standing. Try hosting your daily check-in on the go—rather than around a conference room table.

2. Subsidized gym subscriptions.

Offering free or discounted gym subscriptions to your employees is an excellent way to prove your commitment to employee health. If your office building has an on-site gym, you may also be able to provide membership at a nominal fee—making this a low-cost option for promoting employee health.

3. Healthy snacks.

Dump the candy and soda and substitute granola bars, dried nuts, and water and juice instead. If your company provides free snacks to its employees, stock up on these healthy options the next time you go to Costco or Walmart. If you have a vending machine in your breakroom, talk to your vending machine operator about how to get rid of the candy bars and get healthier snacks instead.

4. Healthy team-building.

If you have new team members, or if your team wants to socialize outside of work, why not set up some weekly workout groups for them to get to know each other? Whether it’s yoga, running, cycling, or CrossFit, working out as a team is a great way to promote team-building.

5. Regular breaks.

When you’re in the zone, it can be tempting to keep working straight through the day without a break—and encouraging your employees to do the same. Doing this creates a stressful atmosphere, which can lead to a variety of stress-induced mental and physical ailments. To keep your employees healthy—and morale high—promote taking regular breaks throughout the day.

6. Flexible schedules.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), providing employees with flexible scheduling options creates a positive impact on employee health and retention. Whether this means allowing employees to pick their hours or work from home on some days, offering a flexible schedule is one of the easiest—and most popular—ways to promote employee health.

7. Make it easy for employees to see their doctor.

Promoting health doesn’t mean much if you don’t make it easy for employees to see the doctor when they’re sick. Forbidding employees from seeing the doctor during working hours or requiring them to take vacation time to see their physician will just encourage employees to come to work sick (and spread to others)—and to continue to struggle with the same health issues zapping their productivity while at work.

8. Bring someone onsite to educate about health.

Is your industry prone to a lot of slips and falls? Do your employees regularly work with hazardous materials? Are you seeing a lot of repetitive motion injuries in your workforce? Maybe it’s time to bring an expert to your workplace to talk about safety, health, and ergonomics. An occupational health expertcan evaluate your workplace and recommend some easy solutions that can reduce the impact to your employees’ health.

"11 Low-Cost Ways to Keep Your Teams Healthy." Entrepreneur. February 19, 2015.
"Flexible Work Might Improve Employees' Health." SHRM. March 10, 2010.