Five things small organizatons can do to support employee health

You don’t have to work for a large organization with a lot of money to embrace workplace wellness. Here are five things any workplace with two or more employees can do to foster a culture of health at work:

1. Provide a mini-fridge and a microwave. Lunches, snacks and beverages brought from home are frequently better for you than restaurant or vending machine food.

2. Agree as a staff to limit treat days. Not to sound like a party pooper, but frequent treat days sabotage employees’ best intentions to eat healthier. Our built-in instincts make it nearly impossible to resist salty, sugary and fatty food that is in our field of vision and free for the taking.

3. Encourage stretch breaks. If you and your fellow workers sit a lot, take turns going for brief walks. As they say, sitting is the new smoking. Too much of it is deadly.

4. Accommodate healthcare appointments. Workers may occasionally need to see healthcare providers during work hours. Try to make reasonable accommodations so that problems are treated early, before they become more serious and costly.

5. Praise healthy habits. Research shows that we are highly influenced by the people we are around every day. If coworkers watch what they eat, you are more likely to do so too. Praise each other for little successes like drinking less pop or going for a walk over the lunch hour.

To learn more about creating a culture of health at work, attend the WorkWell Lawrence Symposium on September 10.

Tagged: wellness, workplace

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Carolyn Crawford 4 years, 9 months ago

Thanks for the great tips for employers, Marilyn! Hope to see you at the 3rd Annual WorkWell Lawrence Symposium on September 10th from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Register on

Chris Lempa 4 years, 9 months ago

These are both great and simple. Thank you for sharing.

Clovis Sangrail 4 years, 9 months ago

Here's a thought -- Give them some sick time so they can stay home when they are sick and not share it with their co-workers.

But small businesses are notoriously cheap about sick leave.

Marilyn Hull 4 years, 9 months ago

Good suggestion. I agree, though, that this can be hard for some employers.

smkscheurer 4 years, 8 months ago

You call out an interesting challenge: Workers may occasionally need to see healthcare providers during work hours. One solution might be to encourage employers to allow workers to make those appointments, as you call out in your article, OR another solution might be to have doctor offices and other healthcare facilities remain open during the noon-hour to accommodate workers who get a lunch break. A little more flexibility on both fronts may help.

Karrey Britt 4 years, 8 months ago

Thanks for sharing these ideas. My workplace not only provides a refrigerator and microwave, but also offers an affordable healthy snack program and employees use it. Our IT specialist makes a trip to the store each week to buy fruit, string cheese and yogurt. It's a quarter for fruit and 50 cents for yogurt or cheese! It has come handy when I need a quick lunch or afternoon snack.

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