Bringing Wellness to the Workplace
If you’re like most Americans, you spend 40-plus hours a week sitting in front of a computer at the office. When you get home from work, you may be too exhausted to fit in a workout or whip up a healthy dinner. Don’t worry, everyone’s been there. But now many large corporations are making it easier for their employees to commit to a healthy lifestyle and it all starts at the office.
West Monroe Partners recently created their own wellness program in their Chicago office.
“We actually created a roadmap that spans three to five years and it goes educate, engage, empower,” Munzoor Shaikh, senior manager of healthcare practices at West Monroe Partners, says. “We wanted to engage our people and have them do a lot of activities that are better for them and their health.”
The consulting firm began with small changes around the office. They offered healthier snacks to employees, stocked the fridge with sparkling water, and installed a few standing desks. West Monroe Partner’s wellness committee even started an office-wide fitness challenge during which employees competed against one another logging exercise, nutrition and rest goals. Many of the participants saw health benefits, including lower cholesterol and weight loss.
Dr. Mark Levy believes corporate wellness programs can lead to healthier, happier and more productive employees.
“You either take a pathway of health and illness or a path of wellness,” he says. ” The better path for everybody… is the wellness pathway.”
Levy also believes these wellness programs can increase workplace morale and help employees feel a sense of community.
Your office may not have a program in place but Levy has some easy tips for bringing wellness to your own workplace:
- Invest in a comfortable desk chair.
- Take a 120-180 second break every 15 to 20 minutes. Get up and walk around, stretching your head, neck, shoulders, and wrists.
- Bring a water bottle to work and fill it up frequently. Avoid soda and other sugary beverages.
- Don’t eat your lunch at your desk. Instead take your lunch outside, or to the break room.
- Try not to overindulge at lunchtime. Instead, focus on eating a small serving of meat (turkey or ham) and a serving or two of complex carbs (pistachios, fruit, etc.)