5 ways to help your team improve their health in 2017

Healthy employees spend more time at the office, take fewer sick days and have more energy to get work done. For these reasons, supporting your co-worker's well-being is beneficial for your company. As a New Year's resolution, encourage your business to commit to improving employee health. Here are five ways to promote healthy living in your office:

1. Offer fitness reimbursement

Being physically fit increases happiness and energy, two benefits you want for your employees. While your company can't force people to get moving, you can certainly offer encouragement. Talk to your human resources team about adding fitness reimbursement to your health insurance. Many programs offer this as an option. Essentially, employees will fill out a form at the end of the year that states how much they pay for their gym membership. Then, the insurance company will pay them back, providing free access to fitness equipment. If your insurance already has this benefit or your company agrees to add it, encourage co-workers to use it.

2. Bring in educators

In addition to getting staff to the gym, you can bring fitness to them. Hire fitness instructors to teach a class in the office once a month. You can change the routine each time, giving employees access to yoga, Zumba, kickboxing and more. Just make sure you have enough space in the office and you choose a class that doesn't require equipment. The event could take place after hours and end with a juice happy hour.

3. Eat well together

Monthly potlucks can also become a staple in your office. Each participant can bring a nutritious dish to share so everyone has a healthy lunch for work. Create guidelines around what constitutes as "healthy," and have a signup sheet where employees write what they'll bring. Make sure there are also options for people with special dietary needs. 

Bowl of chicken orzo salad with peppers and feta on a wood table.Healthy food can be the star of your office potluck.

4. Support mental health

According to the World Health Organization's annual statistics report, one in 10 people worldwide has either depression or anxiety. This means your office is certainly populated by people who deal with mental health issues. Such conditions often cause employees to take days off of work or give sub-par performances. As such, mental health support should be part of your company's overall wellness plan. 

Start by ensuring mental health is covered by your insurance. Therapy is expensive out of pocket, but insurance can make it accessible. Additionally, share links to mental health resources, such as local therapists, guided meditations or strategies for coping.

Another way to pick people up is to compliment them. Have managers write thank you cards to their staff, outlining the many ways they help the company. The gesture may be small, but for someone with anxiety, it could mean the world. Finally, encourage staff to use their vacation time to recharge and relax.

5. Outfit the office

Furniture can promote healthy living, so outfit your office wisely. Fitness balls require the sitter to use abdominal muscles to balance. Have a few floating around the office for people to use intermittently. Also, add standing or walking desks to your layout, and keep yoga mats around for those who want a mid-day stretch.