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Low cost tips to kick start a new year and a healthier workforce

Every year, thousands of us will start the new year with good intentions and make resolutions to improve our health, cut down on drinking, smoking and get more active.

Statistics show that at least 80% of new year resolutions fail by February. But encouraging people to stick to these types of resolution could help to develop a healthier workplace – so why not strike while the iron’s hot and look at ways to support your employees?

Here’s some ideas that are low cost and easy to implement:

 

Walking meetings

If you can have a team meeting where you don’t need to write lots of notes why not take it outdoors, stretch your legs with your team and get some fresh air.  Your team will feel energised and raring to go.

 

Take the stairs

Encourage staff to take the stairs rather than the lifts and get those legs moving. Here’s interesting facts about climbing stairs:

  • You burn more calories per minute than jogging
  • It’s great for cardio as you work against gravity lifting your entire body, strengthening your leg muscles
  • Regular movement of your legs and hips improves your heartbeat and blood flow throughout your body.
  • Strengthens joints and muscles

 

Team exercises

A bit of ‘healthy’ competition can really work wonders.  Encourage teams to work together and go head to head with other teams to get active. There’s lots of free activity apps available to download so people can keep track of their steps and other activity.

Feed this into a team leader board and you’ve got the makings of a great team building exercise that will help to encourage healthy habits.

If budget permits, you could throw in a trophy for the most active team or individual. The bragging rights alone are often enough motivation to keep going.

 

Discounted gym

For most companies, offering a workplace gym just isn’t practical, but if you’re a big enough employer, you might be able to negotiate discounted corporate rates with local gyms. See if your benefits provider can help you here too

 

Ditch the car

Encourage employees to walk or bike to work – even if it’s only for part of the way it will make a difference. Arranging to meet up with a colleague and walk in the last couple of miles to work for example.

Consider launching a formal bike to work scheme – it will encourage a long term behaviour change and save your company money in NI contributions too!

 

Healthy eating

For those companies fortunate enough to have an onsite canteen, work with your caterers to ensure healthy options are always available.

Smaller businesses might find that providing a free fruit bowl goes down well with employees.

 

These tips are a great place to start, particularly if you have a limited budget or are just testing the water to see what works for your employees.