What Will you do to Make your Workplace Healthier in 2013?

It’s that time of year again. As gyms compete for new members with discounts and holiday treats on store shelves are replaced with protein shakes and other healthy concoctions, many of us are making the usual resolutions to get healthier. But, have you considered making healthy New Year’s resolutions for your business? Why not make 2013 the year you commit to making changes that will lead to healthier, happier and more productive employees?

Identifying your Barriers

One of the most important steps to achieving any New Year’s resolution is to identify the barriers to success and determine how you will overcome those challenges to reach your goals. There are some common barriers that are often identified by small business owners and employers who want to make workplace wellness a priority but are not sure where to start. We’ve identified some of the most common along with strategies for overcoming them:

I don’t have the financial resources.

You don’t need to invest in an expensive workplace wellness program to create a healthier work environment for your employees. Making small, simple changes can help make the healthier choice the easier choice for employees. One of the most effective ways to create long-lasting change is to incorporate healthy policies into your business operations. For example, develop guidelines on foods provided at meetings and celebrations and ensure there are always healthy options available. Support flexible working hours to allow employees to take advantage of physical activity opportunities. Also consider partnerships with local recreation facilities and community events to provide employees with low cost options to be more physically active.

I don’t have the staff to run a wellness program.

Many small businesses do not have the luxury of an HR specialist or health and safety coordinator to manage a workplace wellness program. The good news is that special staff is not necessary for creating a healthier work environment. In fact, the single most important element in building and sustaining a wellness program is having CEO and senior management support. Communicating to your employees that workplace wellness is a priority is essential for building a culture of wellness. Communication also needs to be followed by being a role model for employees. This does not mean that you need to be an all-star athlete or a health nut. Showing employees that you face the same challenges and that you are sincere in your commitment to creating a workplace culture that supports wellness will go a long way.

My employees are not interested.

Some employers feel that trying to change personal health behaviours is intrusive and “none of their business.” In fact, many employees actually value workplaces that support employee health and wellness. The best way to ensure employee participation and engagement in workplace wellness activities is to ask them what they want. Conduct an informal survey of your staff to determine what they would like to see as part of a workplace wellness program. Focusing on the needs and interests of your employees provides them with a sense of ownership, which increases participation and engagement.

I don’t know where to start.

If you intend to make a commitment to workplace wellness, but don’t know where to start, help is here. WellnessFits offers free tools and resources to support BC businesses in promoting and improving employee health and wellness. Visit wellnessfits.ca  or call us at 1-855-939-9355 for tips and ideas on how to support employees in making healthier choices and ask us about receiving a free workplace wellness starter kit.

Find out More

Another way to get started with making your workplace healthier in 2013 is attending the WellnessFits: Fit Wellness into Your Workplace free seminar hosted at Small Business BC in Vancouver and delivered to other locations via live video conference and webinar.

Join Sue MacPhail, WellnessFits Coordinator at the Canadian Cancer Society, on January 29 and April 16 to find out how to integrate WellnessFits, a free workplace wellness program, into your business today.

Visit our Seminars page to find out more.