You Can Lead The Charge To A Healthier Workplace
You’re committed to losing twenty pounds, eating more fruits and vegetables, and walking a minimum of four days a week during lunch.
Your co-workers, however, are still bringing donuts to morning meetings, watching “Days of Our Lives” on the TV in break room, and the office smells like Taco Bell and McD’s at noon on most days.
If your co-workers are getting in the way of your weight loss and fitness goals, starting a workplace wellness challenge will benefit you as much as it will them.
I know you’re thinking that you already have enough to do at work, you don’t have time, and your co-workers won’t get on board. Let me get you started with a few ideas that will encourage your co-workers to be part of the solution and keep you from feeling like you’re swimming against the current during the workday.
Workplace Challenges That Are Nearly Maintenance Free
Ten Day No Fast Food Challenge – This is a good one to start with. If nothing else, it will help reduce the amount of junk food at the office for at least ten days, plus much of the work has already been done for you and can be found on this web site.
Invite people to sign up as a team. Send out a set of easy to follow rules and each day e-mail a daily tip to participants. (If you want to use this site’s tips, you can find them under the Ten Day Challenge tab). At the end of the challenge celebrate the group’s success by having everyone bring in a healthy fruit, vegetable, or whole grain snack to share.
Walking Program – Launch a four week walking program that doesn’t require using a pedometer or anything else that has to be purchased. Many of our workplace walking programs are based on time rather than steps. Once again I would encourage employees to participate as teams, but individuals can also join. Have people log how many minutes they walk each day and have the team captain send the amount to you at the end of the week. Send out a weekly e-mail to let everyone know which team is ahead; people love competition. Encourage employees to walk for a portion of their lunch hour, on their ten minute breaks and initiate walking – as opposed to sitting – meetings.
Couch to 5K – This is a wellness program that has been such a hit where I work. It is very
rewarding to see people set a goal to run a 5K and share the excitement they feel once they have accomplished it. The weekly workouts can be found at Cool Running. The facilitator of this program needs to do little more than send out the workout each week to participants along with some words of encouragement. If you have time to send out articles on hydration, motivation and injury prevention those can be helpful to keep people involved too. Again, Cool Running is a great resource for informational articles. If your workplace has a bulletin board where pictures can be posted, have employees bring in a picture of themselves post-race with their medal, for everyone to see.
Healthy Lunch and Learn – Offer an informative lunch and learn on a health-related topic: Nutrition, physical activity, stress management, weight management, or any subject of choice is just a phone call away. Each community has experts that are more than willing to come in – usually at no charge – and give a 40 minute presentation on the selected topic. One of the most well received programs that I’ve done was on stress management. A therapist with our company’s Employee Assistance Program did a wonderful job teaching employees about breathing and relaxation techniques to use when they feel a melt-down is imminent.
Maintain, Don’t Gain Holiday Program (Put That Cookie Down Now!) – More details on this coming soon. Last year I ran this program at work from Thanksgiving to News Years. It is where I got the inspiration for the name of this web site because it was known as the Put Down The Cookie program. It’s hard to put down the cookie, the pie, the alcoholic beverages, and many other things over the holidays but this program can help.
I will be adding pages specific to attacking the battle of the bulge over the holidays so if you’re interested in details about this challenge, stay tuned or subscribe to the blog through the e-mail subscription block in the sidebar.
There are tons of ideas for workplace wellness programs that can help you and your co-workers support each other in your efforts to cultivate and sustain healthy behaviors and they don’t have to be overly time-consuming or complex. In fact, the simpler, the better. Once you get started you’ll find your co-workers will generate ideas too and many may be grateful to you giving them the push they need to adopt some healthier habits!
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