The second ‘National Wellbeing at Work Day’ is coming up in Ireland on April 8th. It is a campaign launched by the Nutrition and Health Foundation which aims to help improve employee health through promoting better nutrition and physical activity in the workplace.
It is fantastic to finally see some importance being put on the wellbeing of the worker, and some acknowledgement at last to the fact that looking after their wellbeing through healthy eating, exercise and stress relief, can have an impact on how they are feeling and on their performance. It makes total sense for an employer to adopt this kind of attitude, as their employees will be a lot more energetic, efficient and productive as a result. People spend the majority of their day in the workplace, it is only fitting that this should be a place with options available to them like healthy food, downtime, exercise, stress relief, emotional support to ensure their wellbeing on a daily basis.
Read on for some simple ways to implement wellbeing in the workplace:
- Have a good range of healthy natural wholefoods available in the canteen/ coffee area/ shop. For break-times, a good selection of fruit and veg and snacks, good quality coffee and herbal teas. There is a huge range now of healthy snack products on the market these days. Check out Wyldsson products (www.wyldsson.com), Nudie Snacks (www.nudiesnacks.co.uk), Nakd bars (www.naturalbalancefoods.co.uk), Get Fruity Bars (www.getfruitybar.co.uk), That’s It Snacks (www.thatsitfruit.com), Primal Pantry bars (www.primalpantry.com), Natasha’s Living Foods (www.natashaslivingfood.ie), Bean Brownie Co (www.beanbrownie.com), Nothing but Snack products (www.nothingbutsnack.com), Boost Bites (www.boostbites.com), Rawlicious snacks (www.rawlicious.eu).
- Arrange staff discounts in local healthy eateries and shops. And make information available to staff about different good eateries, what options are available and where they are.
- Allow ample time for lunch-break, to enable staff to sit down, relax, chew their food sufficient and partake in some mindful eating, not rushing and racing, gobbling down food which plays havoc with gut health, and therefore their health in general.
- Where possible have a social setting available for lunch, so staff can sit down relax and enjoy a nice meal and good company building up relationships with their co-workers.
- Promote exercise to employees, maybe cycling or walking to and from work or during the lunch-break, promote a 15-30 min walking/running route in the locality. Provide shower facilities, if possible. Arrange staff discounts in a local gym.
- Organise a speaker to come in to talk about healthy eating and health in general, maybe a nutritionist, or local health shop owner, personal trainer or restaurant owner with a healthy eating ethos.
- Promote relaxation and downtime in the office, providing a dedicated space where staff can go for a sit down in a quiet area maybe with the option of headphones available and promote relaxation apps, DVD’s, techniques.
- Organising an exercise class in-house or promoting a local class e.g. Yoga at lunch can be a great way to get employees to relax and unwind, in the end, it will make them happier, healthier and more productive.
- Nutritional information displayed around the office in the form of magazines, flyers, posters.
- A weekly organic fruit and veg box delivered to the office, from a local producer.
- Add a Nutribullet or smoothie maker to the canteen/coffee area for staff to use.
- Play music in the office, or allow staff to listen to their own.
- Have a workgroup on social media, promoting a relaxed atmosphere and humour between co-workers.
- Create a special day on a Friday for some sort of weekly event in healthy eating or fitness. A ‘bake off’ or take turns bring in healthy treats or a group walk or run or even taking turns playing the music of your choice.
- In a bigger office, you could form a committee to overlook and arrange all of the above.
- For employees working alone, out on the road or the sole employee in a shop, it is important to give sufficient cover to make it possible for them to go for lunch and that they have ample time to meet up with someone for some social interaction or even exercise.
Emotional support is important, especially if working alone, that they feel they have a backup and someone to talk to.
Have a good one!
Kara Reilly, Current IINH Student