FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Kimberly Greene * Ron Sonntag Public Relations, Inc.
(414) 354-0200 x110 * [email protected]
Beth Maniero * TOPS Club, Inc.
(414) 482-4620 x43 * [email protected]
MILWAUKEE, WI – With busy schedules, numerous responsibilities, and long hours, employee appreciation can sometimes be forgotten. March is National Employee Spirit Month, an opportunity for companies to boost morale and create camaraderie at work. What’s the best way to motivate and energize employees? Encourage them to lead healthier lifestyles. TOPS Club, Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the nonprofit weight-loss support organization, offers ideas to promote wellness in the workplace and stay fit.
Promote Employee Wellness
Wellness programs are often linked to higher employee productivity, lower healthcare spending, and fewer “sick days” taken.
“In addition to things like ROI, there are less quantifiable but equally important benefits, like improved morale – and employees who are just plain happier,” says Maggie Thorison, Wellness Manager for TOPS.
Wellness programs can strengthen a company’s culture and boost employee morale and camaraderie. Employees and employers work together toward wellness and get to know each other better. According to the Harvard Business Review, “The inherent nature of workplace wellness – a partnership between employee and employer – requires trust. Because personal health is such an intimate issue, investment in wellness can, when executed appropriately, create deep bonds.”
There are many opportunities for employers to support health and wellness in the workplace:
* Have recess at work. Scheduling short breaks each day can help employees get moving and add fun to the workday. Plan activities; break up a long meeting with movement; or choose recess “leaders” to motivate others, create teams, and track their progress.
* Encourage exercise. There are many ways to promote fitness at the office. Provide bike parking to inspire people to ride their bicycles to work. Start a walking club that meets during the lunch hour. Offer discounted gym memberships to employees or subsidize some of their fees.
* Offer incentives. Give out gift cards or sporting event tickets to participants who meet goals. It’s a great way to make the program fun and keep employees enthusiastic. Have monthly contests with prizes for the person who makes the most progress – a better parking spot, an extra vacation day, a cash prize, “Jeans Day,” and more.
* Host “lunch and learns” or seminars. Invite local wellness experts as guest speakers who can discuss healthy cooking, stress management, fitness tips, and more.
* Provide healthy food. Replace at least a few of the vending machine treats with dried fruit, nuts, granola bars, and other nutritious snacks. Serve healthy refreshments for meetings.
* Help reduce stress. Bring in a massage therapist every month or every other month as a quick break for employees. Stress reduction can help boost productivity and morale.
* Ask employees to “invest” in their health. It’s great when employers of all sizes are able to offer and pay for wellness programs, like smoking cessation, gym memberships, or weight-loss program fees. Keep in mind, however, that a monetary commitment by employees to their wellness may make them feel more accountable and more likely to participate. Or employers can offer to reimburse fees if they stick to the program for a set amount of time.
* Conduct meetings on-the-go. When possible, schedule walking meetings or brainstorming sessions.
Fit in Fitness at Work
It’s important that employees take charge of their well-being. Here are some tips to burn calories and maintain fitness at the office:
* Stand. Find opportunities to stand to burn more calories. Stand at your desk while completing small tasks, such as talking on the phone.
* Take fitness breaks. Skip the coffee break and take a brisk walk or do some stretching.
* Trade your desk chair for a stability ball. This helps improve an individual’s balance and tones core muscles.
The workday is hectic, but don’t fall into a slump of fast foods and vending machine items. Here are some ideas to curb your appetite and make healthy choices:
* Eat breakfast. Don’t start the day with an empty stomach. A nutritious breakfast helps individuals control their appetite, so they aren’t as inclined to snack or overindulge during the day. Breakfast can also keep a person’s energy level up.
* Stay hydrated. Water can help with weight loss, digestion, and performance. Keep a water bottle at your desk or make frequent visits to the water cooler.
* Research restaurants. If you plan to eat out, look at the restaurant menu before lunch. This will give you an opportunity to find a place that serves healthy options.
For more workplace wellness ideas, visit the TOPS blog, http://www.tops.org/WellnessBlog.
TOPS in the Workplace
Start a TOPS weight-loss support chapter for your employees. TOPS workplace chapters are an affordable, flexible, and convenient opportunity for employees to take charge of their health and well-being. To start a workplace chapter, TOPS’ Field Staff meets with the human resources department or wellness coordinator to tailor the program to the company’s culture and needs. Employees receive education and support to achieve a healthier lifestyle. For more information, contact Maggie Thorison at [email protected] or (414) 482-4620 x23.
TOPS Club Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) is the original weight-loss support and wellness education organization. Founded more than 64 years ago, TOPS is the only nonprofit, noncommercial weight-loss organization of its kind. TOPS promotes successful weight management with a “Real People. Real Weight Loss.” philosophy that combines support from others at weekly chapter meetings, healthy eating, regular exercise, and wellness information. TOPS has about 170,000 members – male and female, age seven and older – in nearly 10,000 chapters throughout the United States and Canada.
Visitors are welcome to attend their first TOPS meeting free of charge. Membership is affordable at just $28 per year in the U.S. and $32 per year in Canada, plus nominal chapter fees. To find a local chapter, view http://www.tops.org or call (800) 932-8677.