October is Canada's Healthy Workplace Month, which provides employers an excellent opportunity to promote healthy, active lifestyles for employees to be healthy and stay engaged.
You can build your wellness program to address any number of goals or problem areas. Consider these programs and incentives that can help your employees develop healthy habits and lead a more active lifestyle.
Activities and Programs
You can target different populations by providing a variety of classes at different times. Some people will be attracted to intense aerobic activity, while others will prefer slower-paced classes. Generate excitement by introducing new kinds of exercise throughout the year, such as tai chi, kickboxing, yoga and Pilates.
Walk for charity
Some people may be motivated to get fit by the thought of helping those in need. Select a good cause – or several – and encourage employees to participate in a charity walk/run. You could even sponsor one that starts at your workplace.
People are more likely to stick with their exercise plan when they have a buddy or group for motivation. Provide incentives to encourage employees to team up or form walking groups. Also, hand out maps of walking routes that begin and end at the workplace.
If sprains, strains and back pain are common occurrences at your job site, group stretching before the start of each shift can help improve job performance and prevent injury. Even for those at desk jobs, a morning stretch or yoga class can get the blood flowing and increase energy levels for the rest of the day.
Company softball game
Turn your annual picnic into a fun and active day on the baseball diamond. Provide healthy drinks and lunch. Throwing, catching and running around the bases will build morale and improve fitness at the same time.
Offer convenient, safe and highly visible locations for employees to park their bicycles. Combine this initiative with an incentive program that encourages employees to bike to work or bike during lunch. Provide bike route maps, free water bottles with your company logo and a chance to win a new bicycle.
Offer flexible work hours to allow time for exercising during the day.
Encourage walking meetings
When feasible, suggest that employees engage in “walk and talk” meetings, rather than sitting in a conference room.
If possible, provide shower facilities onsite to encourage employees to exercise during the day.
Show your company’s commitment to health by providing wellness-boosting incentives like free or discounted gym memberships. This can be the motivation some people need to start exercising regularly. Solicit local gyms for discount packages or free promotional offers.
These are great incentives that encourage employees to stick to their exercise program by measuring steps and estimating distances. Encourage employees to take 6,000 steps daily for health or 10,000 steps daily for weight loss. A walking challenge can boost motivation for employees to get started.
Boost participation in an exercise program by offering a coupon for free or discounted running shoes.
Sports store gift certificate
Sports store merchandise will help equip your employees to swim, run or engage in other physical activity. Your local sports store may be willing to work with your company to create this incentive package, since it is sure to bring more fitness-focused customers into their store.
Some people are more comfortable exercising in the privacy and convenience of their own home. For these individuals, an at-home exercise regime can start with a motivational exercise DVD. Be sure to offer a variety of options, including for beginners, intense aerobics and the latest fitness trends.
Active lifestyles are critical to the health of your employees. Download our checklist to see how prepared your company is when it comes to promoting active lifestyles in the workplace.