Will a healthy work environment lead to healthy employees? You bet it will

Jodi Davis

| 3 min read

I’m sure you will agree with me, it is wonderful to work in a healthy environment instead of an unhealthy one.
I know what it’s like to work in an unhealthy environment, I did so many years ago and I gained about 30 pounds while in that unhealthy atmosphere. It wasn’t an unhappy environment either; it was quite the contrary.
Each time there was a reason to celebrate a co-workers birthday, anniversary, promotion or special event like a wedding or birth of a child, we celebrated. It was great fun as the day often started off with a big box of donuts! Then midday everyone looked forward to the celebration items brought just for the special occasion: cake, brownies, cookies, candy and numerous other sugary treats.
But even when there wasn’t a celebration, the environment was enjoyable since there was regularly a bowl of candy for us to dip into every time we passed it by – many of us contributed to the bowl. The high-calorie, sugary and fat-filled options in the vending machines were all there too. And the sugary soda machines were everywhere. We’d all make sure we had a container of loose change on our desks so we could purchase all the vending machine treats or give a few coins to those who were desperately wanting a pop or a goodie.
When it came to exercising, none of us even talked about participating in it; even during our lunch hour when we had enough time and could have taken a walk outdoors, it wasn’t a consideration. We were content sitting in our cubicles and remained in our seats for hours on end. It sure created some habits for us … but they certainly were not healthy ones. These habits resulted in tired and unproductive employees. Sickness and health issues were common causing many of my coworkers to miss work. Not my idea of a healthy work environment at all.
It is possible to have a work environment that is completely opposite of the one I worked in. When a healthy work environment is provided it will influence the employees to have healthy habits, resulting in workers that are in better health. And with better health, personnel who were once tired and unproductive begin to materialize into energetic and productive employees. The rate of sickness and absenteeism goes down.
A healthy work environment does NOT include cakes & donuts for celebrating. It does include healthy items such as: an array of fresh berries, bowls of fruit, assortment of garden-fresh veggies, hummus and guacamole dips, raw nuts, Greek or low-fat yogurt, and bottles of pure water, unsweetened green tea or juice. Vending machines include whole-grain items, granola bars, trail mix, “good-for-you” snacks and there are not any vending machines containing bottles or cans of soda. A vast selection of healthy drinks are available instead.
Taking a walk at lunch, or allowing time before or after work to utilize an on-site gym would be the norm. Two of my favorite items that allow you to exercise while you’re working are the Fit Desk or the treadmill work station. These both allow employees to exercise while they are productively working. I know a work environment like this can influence an employee’s behavior, not only practicing healthy habits in the workplace but in the home as well.
Photo credit: mezzoblue

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