May is Global Employee Health and Fitness Month (GEHFM), an international initiative that prioritizes health and fitness in the workplace.
It’s the time of the year when organizations should reflect on what they are doing (or not doing) to help their employees live healthy lifestyles. This is an important topic because employers, whether they know it or not, can have a significant influence on their employee’s habits.
Employers can effectively promote and encourage healthy living through workplaces initiates and incentives, and that’s beneficial for both employees and employers.
Why Global Employee Health and Fitness Month Matters
Employers should pay attention to Global Employee Health and Fitness Month because it does more than benefit individual employees (which is a huge benefit in itself).
Instilling positive health habits in employees can impact the organization a whole.
- Are happier
- Have more energy
- Are more productive and engaged
- Are less stressed
A study found that when employees eat healthy foods, they are 25% more likely to have higher job performance, and when employees exercise three times a week for at least 30 minutes, they are 15% more likely to have a higher job performance (source).
Organizations with healthy employees:
- Experience less absenteeism
- Have higher employee performance
- Can save money on healthcare and insurance costs
- Can use their health-focused initiatives as recruiting tools
The same study found that when workers exercise and eat healthy foods, absteensism was 27% lower, and the performance of healthy employees was 11% higher than their overweight peers.
Encouraging people at your organization to lead healthy lifestyles benefits both sides of the business. So, use these tips during GEHFM to promote a higher level of wellness, fitness, productivity, and efficiency in your organization.
34 Activities to Help Employees Get (and Stay) Healthy
Use the following activities to promote Global Employee Health and Fitness Month within your organization.
- Host an outdoor picnic with physical games and activities.
- Provide an employee discount rate for theme parks or physically active events like roller skating, skiing, golf, or even indoor rock climbing.
- Offer group discounts for local gyms and workout facilities.
- Bring in a healthcare consultant to talk about healthy living.
- Bring in a nutritionist to talk about healthy eating.
- Bring in a chef to offer healthy cooking demonstrations.
- Bring in a personal trainer to talk about creating workout habits.
- Promote “walking” meetings where you walk around the building instead of gathering in meeting rooms.
- Host a luncheon with healthy food options.
- Give away inexpensive games or objects that promote outdoor activities, such as frisbees, beach balls, hula hoops, soccer balls, etc.
- Give away a higher ticket item that promotes outdoor activities like a bike or kayak through a raffle.
- Provide employees with a branded water bottle to use for exercising and hikes.
- Send a bulletin with a list of great places to hike or get outside in the area surrounding your office or location.
- Encourage employees to park a few spaces farther away each day to get in more walking time.
- Better yet, create a game or initiative to encourage employees to park farther away.
- Create an initiative to encourage employees to use the steps instead of the elevator.
- Stock your breakroom with healthy snacks.
- Add a juicer or smoothie machine to your breakroom.
- Document a high-level executive or leader’s path to living a healthier lifestyle.
- Provide information sessions that educate employees on the benefits of their insurance (such as free check-ups, preventative care, etc.).
- Educate employees on the importance of staying home when they are sick (and offer time off so they stay home).
- Offer programs or initiatives to help employees quit smoking.
- Provide information that reminds employees that health isn’t just about the body. It’s also about the mind.
- Offer on-site mini massages for employees to help decrease stress.
- Host a meditation class to teach employees how to use their breath to de-stress.
- Assess your office or in-store environment to make sure that the lighting is easy on the eyes, chairs are ergonomically correct, etc.
- Perform on-site stress tests and health screenings.
- Provide free on-site flu shots.
- Use an app to host a step challenge that the entire organization can participate in.
- Offer on-site exercise areas or weight rooms.
- Provide on-site exercise classes, yoga sessions, or fitness classes.
- Build an in-office library of healthy cookbooks and books about wellness for mind and body.
- Participate in an organization-sponsored 5K walk or run.
- Make health and wellness a part of your corporate philosophy.
As you plan these initiatives and activities, keep something important in mind.
Employee health and fitness shouldn’t just be a priority in May.
It’s an important initiative that you should promote year-round. So also look for ways to implement these habits and activities throughout the year.