Human Resources Advice

Exercise in the Work Place: How and Why

Written by Clayton Reeves for Gaebler Ventures

Is your company physically fit? When it comes to exercise in the workplace, there are many things that companies can do to encourage employees to stay well and be healthy.

How can a small business cater to a healthier lifestyle?

Exercise in the Work Place How and Why

It is a question that is becoming more important in an increasingly health conscious American society.

Becoming more health conscious when you have the honor of being the fattest country on the planet may seem like a silly concept, but people crawl before they walk.

Take your company one step ahead of the curve by implementing easy ways for your employees to create a healthy lifestyle for themselves.

Here are some steps toward company wellness that you, as a small business owner, can personally take when creating a positive attitude about physical fitness.

  • Be a role model - Be a leader and role model by initiating a healthier lifestyle for yourself. Eat healthier foods in front of your employees and display a commitment to personal fitness. No one will buy into the plan if their leader doesn't exhibit the type of behavior that they are trying to impress upon their subordinates.
  • Assess your employees - The fifty year old woman in the mailing department will require different support than the slightly overweight recent college graduate. As a leader, you must assess each employee's needs and goals. Then, help them make decisions and goals that are attainable but challenging. Without the challenge, there is no satisfaction at the end of the road. Don't overwhelm employees with a plan that is too aggressive, but help them along with support and follow up.
  • Support their decisions with resources - There are lots of resources for healthy living. This could be as easy as ordering a couple subscriptions to Men's Health and Women's Health to put in the break room. Then have some discounted gym memberships available to employees that want to take the challenge. Don't force it on anyone or it will become a chore.
  • Foster a cultural change, top to bottom - Engrain the system into the corporate culture. Your approach to making fitness part of the culture can range from sweeping initiatives to small changes. A small step could be encouraging the vending companies you use to stock the snack machines with healthier snacks.
  • Create incentives for physical activity - As the owner, there are several incentives you can create to further motivate your employees toward being physically active and meeting certain wellness goals. Goal attainment in physical fitness can be treated like any other form of achievement. In fact, things like better parking spots or awards can be handed out as a reward for being healthy or helping to initiate health-helpful changes in the office. The create word in this bullet is really key, as creativity will be very important during this stage of the process.

Overall, the leader of the organization needs to take charge when implementing something as sweeping as changing employee lifestyles. Becoming a coach and partner in the company fitness program will present challenges to the small business owner.

However, it's worth the effort. Healthier people are happier and more productive holding everything else constant. This will provide benefit for your company for years to come, and you may actually help extend the lives of your employees.

People are usually a company's most valuable asset. It is important to take care of them, so that they can keep taking care of you.

When he's not playing racquetball or studying for a class, Clayton Reeves enjoys writing articles about entrepreneurship. He is currently an MBA student at the University of Missouri with a concentration in Economics and Finance.

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