Summertime is the perfect excuse to step out of the office and level up wellness in your workplace. Encouraging employees to adopt healthy habits won’t just improve their overall health; it’s likely to increase their happiness and productivity, too. Whether you’re looking to boost your existing wellness program or start from scratch, we have great tips to get you started on your quest to better health.
Does being outdoors boost your mood? Spending more time outside improves short-term memory, restores mental energy, reduces stress, and sparks creativity. If this sounds like a recipe for success at the office, it very well could be. Getting employees to go outside encourages productivity and helps keep them healthier year-round.
But if you sit at a desk for 40 or more hours a week—like many—it’s difficult to reap the benefits of being outdoors. In fact, only 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. gets the recommended levels of physical activity. Throughout the country, low levels of activity are associated with $117 billion in health care costs each year.
Since many of us spend so much time at the office, it’s the perfect place to begin forming healthier habits. A good starting point is to take breaks from sitting and get outside when you can. Check out these ideas to incorporate more outdoor time during your workday:
- Take outdoor breaks. During the workday, your brain needs time to recharge, your eyes need screen breaks, and your body needs to move and stretch. Take two 10- or 15-minute walking breaks around your office building each day and come back feeling more refreshed.
- Ditch the conference room. If the meeting doesn’t involve a presentation and is conversation-only, hold a walking meeting instead! Whether you stroll down the block, around your office building, or even in your parking lot, it’s great exercise and keeps everyone more engaged.
- Eat al fresco. If it’s a beautiful sunny day, why spend your lunch break indoors? Instead of scarfing down a sandwich in front of your monitor, pick a spot outside your office and enjoy the fresh air. Encourage employees to eat lunch outside by installing picnic tables or other outdoor seating areas.
Host team outings.
Spending time together outside the office helps your team bond, build trust, and improve interpersonal skills. Encourage summer outings and spend more time outside, getting more physical activity during the workday. Some ideas include:
- Host company picnics and encourage employees to bring their families for a day of fun.
- Plan an employee field day with team-building challenges.
- Take a field trip to a local park or attraction.
- Volunteer as a team at a local nonprofit—like The Boys & Girls Club of Frederick County or United Way of Frederick County
Share the joy of fresh food.
Good nutrition is a major part of any healthy lifestyle, and summer is the perfect time to eat a nutritious diet full of fresh produce. Did you know you should eat five or more fruits and veggies each day? Encouraging healthy eating will help your employees feel more energized and productive—and it boosts their immune system, too. There are plenty of ways you can encourage eating fresher, healthier foods at work.
- Supply fresh, local produce in the office kitchen and break rooms.
- Start a company garden.
- Host a healthy potluck and ask employees to bring their favorite fruit and veggie dishes.
- Offer employee discounts for local farmers’ markets.
- Take group trips to local farmers’ markets.
- Send out healthy, summer-themed recipes each week.
Create team challenges.
Employees can lose interest in the same activities year-round, so shake it up! Stir up excitement for your wellness program by adding fun, summer-themed activities, like:
- An outdoor walking challenge. The employee who walks the most steps outside wins.
- Biking. The employee who rides the most miles throughout the summer wins.
- A bike-to-work challenge. The employee who bikes to the office the most times throughout the summer wins.
- A fitness tracker challenge. Encourage employees to track their steps or active minutes for a prize.
- A company sports team. Employees can play softball, volleyball, flag football, or kickball to get active and enjoy time outside with their colleagues. Add some extra fun by inviting other local companies or partners to compete against your employees!
And don’t forget to encourage your team to register for our free, virtual Summer of…Challenge! It’s the perfect excuse to take a digital detox and replace your excess sedentary time with a new hobby—like gardening, hiking, dancing, volunteering, and so much more. You choose! Visit LiveWellFrederick.com/SummerChallenge to register.
Are you ready to make this the summer of workplace wellness? We hope these tips can get your company on the path to healthier habits. Check out these helpful resources on nutrition, physical activity, and more. May this summer be your best yet!