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Top 21 Healthy Tips for Your Workplace Wellness

Workplace wellness is essential for both employees and organizations to thrive.

Since most people will spend one-third of their waking hours working, workplace health and wellness should be a priority for both employees and organizations alike.

Whether your career aligns with a “desk job” or manual labor, there is a physical and mental toll on your body no matter the type of work.  Workplace stress is present in all industries and, if not addressed, can lead to poor employee health – costing you and your employer big time.

The importance of workplace wellness

In recent years, many companies have increased their focus on employee health, implementing different variations of workplace wellness programs.  For self-funded organizations, these efforts have largely been geared towards preventive or biometric screenings and other opportunities that engage staff with ways to improve overall physical health. 

But good health goes beyond optimizing your physical health.  A balanced focus towards overall health is one that includes enhancing and protecting your workplace mental health as well. 

A well-balanced workplace wellness program builds a culture of wellness and respect for the mind, body, and soul.  This culture yields tremendous benefits not only for the employees but also the organization.

The benefits of encouraging healthy habits among employees

While many organizations hope to lower healthcare costs associated with employee benefit claims, a healthier workplace can provide other advantages as well including:

  • Increased employee morale – healthy employees are happier employees!
  • Improved attendance – healthy employees call out sick less!
  • Increased work productivity – healthy employees have greater energy levels!
  • Reduced employee turnover – healthy employees that feel valued leads to greater employee retention!
  • Ability to attract new talent – a healthy work environment that exudes a culture of wellness is a magnet for top talent!

If your organization does not offer a formal corporate wellness program, the good news is that there are still many things you can do to engage in healthy habits while at work. 

Whether you are a remote employee or work onsite in the office there are plenty of ways you can incorporate workplace wellness activities into your environment.  The best way is to just get started by trying a few of the employee wellness program ideas listed below.

If you want help tracking your progress or a structure to stay accountable to your wellness routine access your free Wellness & Self Care Planner in PDF format here.

21 Best Workplace Wellness Tips

1. Make healthy snacks accessible

Developing healthy eating habits is a great way to help to cultivate better overall health.  While it can be tempting to grab a sugary treat during times of workday stress, the crash that ensues post-sugar rush can lead to tired and sluggish feelings making it tougher to get through the rest of the day.  Keep a stash of healthy food choices on hand to satisfy those mid-day cravings.  Fresh fruits are a great source of essential vitamins and nutrients, and some even help brain function!  Common fruits such as apples, berries, bananas, and oranges are a few of the best healthy snacks that also improve your brain health.

2. Sanitize your work area

The best way to decrease the spread of germs in the workplace is to disinfect your work area regularly.  Sanitizing your office or workspace, including areas such as your keyboard or any other objects or surfaces that you encounter, will help to minimize your chances of contracting illnesses such as the common cold.  Keep a supply of sanitizing wipes for quick and easy wipe down and a bottle of hand sanitizer on your desk as a reminder to disinfect regularly. 

3. Step away from your desk

It’s important to step away from your workspace to refresh or recharge.  Even a few minutes and a deep breath can have a big impact on your ability to clear your mind.  If you receive scheduled breaks throughout the day, make sure to take them.  If you don’t have regularly scheduled breaks, then book at least 10-15 minutes twice throughout the day – in addition to your lunch break – to step away from your workstation.  Taking proper breaks to clear your mind can help increase your energy levels, boost your productivity, and better manage daily stress.

4. Ensure proper workplace ergonomics

Ergonomic workstations are often overlooked yet can be a great way to contribute to employee wellbeing while also valuing employee safety.  Implementing or improving ergonomic workstations can help reduce fatigue, discomfort and pain which can all lead to musculoskeletal conditions.  Tips to improve your workspace include investing in ergonomic office chairs to assist with better posture, adjusting your monitor to the proper height at eye level or slightly above, and ensuring your keyboard and mouse placement are not putting any unnecessary strain on your arms or neck.  Utilizing a standing desk can also be a great option to help support proper ergonomics – just be aware of maintaining good posture!

5. Organize your workspace

Maintaining a clutter free work environment is a great way to help reduce stress levels.  While your to-do list may be a mile long, keeping your workspace clutter to a minimum may help you stay better focused on each task.  It’s important to remember that workplace organization involves more than just the surface of your desk.  Take time to digitally organize as well.  Ensuring that your computer documents and emails are properly filed or stored will improve your efficiency and help to reduce daily stress and anxiety.  Better organization of your physical space allows for better organization of your mental space!

6. Change up your scenery

Break up the monotony of your day by changing up your location.  Consider relocating to an open conference room for an hour while you return emails.  Or, if possible, suggest a walking meeting – preferably outdoors for the mind clearing boost of fresh air but even walking indoors will provide benefit.  If you do remote work, consider relocating to the quiet space of a public library or a local coffee shop for the day.

7. Hydrate

Adequate water consumption and your ability to stay appropriately hydrated greatly impacts your energy levels as well as your brain function. Some studies show that drinking water can relieve headaches or headache symptoms, a common workday ailment experienced by many employees. Even mild levels of dehydration can affect your physical health and mental well-being. Reach for a glass of water instead of that afternoon cup of coffee to get the maximum benefit.  Keep a refillable water bottle at your desk and aim for 64 oz of water a day for an easy way to give your overall health a boost.

8. Be kind to your eyes

Computer use is a common cause of eye strain among employees.  The good news is that there are several simple ways to be kind to your eyes during the workday.  Many people forget to blink when staring at a monitor for extended periods of time which can lead to dry eyes.  Consciously take a few moments to blink and replenish your natural tears.  It’s also important, and easy, to take intentional eye breaks throughout the day.  Try using the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. You should also adjust the settings on your computer monitor for easier reading.  The font, brightness and contrast can all be adjusted in your settings to provide for a more comfortable viewing experience and a reduction in eye strain. 

Regular eye exams are also important to ensure proper eye health and update any prescription changes that may be needed for glasses or contacts.

9. Breathe

Sounds silly, right? But deep breathing is an incredibly effective technique to help reduce stress and anxiety.  Whether it’s back-to-back meetings, an impending deadline or preparing for a crucial conversation with team members, taking a few deep breaths can go a long way to infuse a calming effect into your workday. 

10. Incorporate movement into your meetings

Lead by example when it comes to workplace wellness and suggest some different things to try and incorporate movement in your meetings.  Simple stretch breaks at the start of a meeting can be a great way for everyone to reset their focus.  If possible, daily, or even weekly walking meetings can be another fun way to get team members moving while working.

11. Respect your calendar

Respect your own calendar and do your best to avoid scheduling back-to-back meetings throughout the day.  Block off standing time on your calendar throughout the week to tend to current projects.  Avoid meeting burnout by offering alternative responses, such as requesting recordings or sending another representative, in lieu of accepting every meeting invite. 

12. Set boundaries

While this can be difficult for some, creating boundaries and adhering to set work hours is a good self-care practice.  There are many other important aspects of life in addition to your career including spending time with family and friends, participating in hobbies, and enjoying other non-work related activities.  Be clear with yourself about the boundaries you need to set in order to show up as the best version of yourself in all aspects of your life.

13. Stay home when you’re feeling sick

Keep your germs to yourself.  In addition to stopping the spread of illness, staying home when you don’t feel well gives you appropriate time to rest which provides a better chance to recover faster.  Your colleagues will thank you!

14. Take advantage of employee benefits

Employee benefits tend to stretch further than just health insurance.  Ask you employer or visit human resources to find out the full breadth of what is available to you.  In addition to traditional employee wellness programs, some organizations offer access to financial wellness programs, discounts on physical fitness programs or gym memberships, and access to various kinds of mental wellness programs.  Employee assistance programs (EAP) may consist of further benefits as well. Don’t overlook these wellness gems!

15. Build relationships

Developing relationships with your team members fosters collaboration and can help to improve morale.  Equally as important, a strong network is widely regarded as having a positive impact on both your physical and mental health.  Social interaction can be a great deterrent for feelings of social isolation or loneliness.  If you are onsite in the office, schedule time to grab lunch together.  If you work remotely, get to know your colleagues by offering and asking for assistance.  

16. Take your PTO

Work-life balance is not only essential to your overall health, but also for your optimal performance in the workplace.  Your mind is at its best when it can recharge, get enough sleep and replenish its energy supply.  Avoid employee burnout and schedule some vacation days throughout the year even if a big vacation is not on your radar. Make unplugging a priority.

17. Create a greener environment with plants

Indoor air quality can sometimes be more polluted than the air outside your office. Certain plants, including peace lilies and spider plants, are natural air purifiers and give a boost to indoor air quality.  Greenery can also provide a tasteful way to decorate your workspace!

18. Participate in employee wellness challenges

Employee wellness challenges are a great way to get healthier while increasing employee engagement.  If your company doesn’t offer any routine group challenges, ask around and get a group together for some friendly competition.  Create a private social media group and post challenges for the day, week, or month.  Daily step challenges, weekly workout challenges or even monthly exercise minutes are all easy ideas to help get you started.  Or try a 30-day mental cleanse challenge here!

19. Participate in professional development opportunities

Give your brain a healthy workout and boost your mental fitness by taking advantage of company sponsored professional development opportunities.  In addition to learning new skills or techniques, you open yourself up to greater possibilities and expand your professional network. 

20. Create a workspace with intention

While you may not always have complete control over where your office is located or its size, take a step back and evaluate the space itself.  Decide what is within your control such as the configuration or perhaps even the décor and set up your space in a way that promotes focus, inspiration and creativity. 

21. Dress appropriately

Confidence is a huge component of your mental wellbeing.  And since your external appearance can greatly affect your confidence levels what better way to help out your self-esteem than by dressing for success?  Comfort is also key so don’t forget the importance of choosing appropriate, yet comfortable, attire – especially when it comes to footwear!

Choose wellness ideas that fit you and your workplace best

Depending on your industry, environment, and interests some of these healthy workplace tips may be more realistic or effective than others.  These wellness ideas can serve as suggestions or opportunities to help get you and your team members going with healthy behaviors throughout the workday.  It’s a good idea to remember that each step taken is a step towards a more healthy life!