Best Practices in HR

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Robyn Whalen
  May 15, 2019

How to Celebrate Global Employee Health & Fitness Month

May is the perfect month to develop your company’s wellness program if you haven’t already done so.

If you have a wellness program, rev it up by celebrating Global Employee Health and Fitness Month (GEHFM). This month-long celebration is a national observance of fitness and health in the workplace.

Join in with other workplaces around the country. Here’s a look at the numbers: 

  • 28,575 participants 
  • 38 states participating
  • 72 cities participating
  • 6,621 companies & organizations participating

Below, we share how you can get your employees involved with four different weekly activities, and a celebration at the end of the month to wrap it up. 

Week 1 – Physical Activity

The first week is a good week to remind employees about all the types of physical activity they can do in the office. Some heart-healthy options: Take the stairs, take breaks to walk during the day, desk exercises, and stretches. 

Walking Meetings

Specific activity for the week: Encourage walking meetings with smaller groups

  • Ask employees to hold as many walking meetings as possible the first week of May. They can get outside when weather allows or stay in the building during inclement weather.
  • Employees should keep a public tally of how many walking meetings they were able to attend. This can be either a physical board somewhere onsite or an online shared document. Share the results via email at the end of the week.

Week 2 – Healthy Food Choices

Healthy food choices can be difficult to make when time is short and employees are busy. Office leadership can help by providing healthy snacks and break rooms with refrigerators and food prep areas. Remind your employees how your company supports healthy eating habits and how bringing lunch from home can save both waistlines and money.

Healthy Potluck Lunch

Specific activity for the week: Host a healthy potluck lunch for employees

  • Ask employees to bring in their favorite potluck dishes. Or, the company can provide a healthy catered lunch from a local farm-to-table restaurant.
  • Share the recipes used and/or host a shared folder for employees to share favorite recipes with each other.

Week 3 – Practice Gratitude

Gratitude is an important part of mental health and overall life satisfaction. Practicing gratitude on a regular basis can help those who struggle with depression, and even well-adjusted, healthy individuals, studies show. 

  • Encourage employees to practice gratitude every day both at home and work. Examples may include creating a gratitude journal, starting and ending the day with positive statements, giving compliments, starting conversations with a positive statement, etc. 

Office Gratitude Challenge

Specific activity for the week: Host an office gratitude challenge for the week

  • Give each employee a pad of sticky notes and a special pen (have different colors, etc.)
  • Challenge each employee to share at least 5 things they are grateful for and/or compliments to other employees each day this week.
  • Dedicate a wall or bulletin board for posting  — this can be anonymous — and/or employees can give Post-its to each other or stick on office doors.

Week 4 – Reduce Stress

Remind employees about the physical dangers of stress and explore stress-relief techniques like taking frequent breaks, journaling, deep breathing exercises, physical activity, etc. 

Massage Day

Specific activity for the week: Partner with a local massage school or company to host a massage or spa day. Many schools/companies will bring chairs and therapists onsite. Plus, therapists-in-training need practical hours before they can graduate, meaning they may be able to donate their time. 

  • Encourage employees to take advantage of this opportunity by providing an extra break period on the scheduled massage or spa day.

Wrap Up GEHFM With a Celebration

At the end of May, pick a time to celebrate your healthier office. It can be a healthy lunch, breakfast, or outdoor event for all to attend. If you have time to organize it, invite some local health vendors (nutritionists, health department, personal trainers, etc.) to set up booths and chat with employees. 

Upon gathering for your celebration: 

  • Discuss your wellness committee objectives, or outline your plans to develop your committee  
  • Host a Q&A with your employees to discover what activities they enjoyed most 
  • Have employees sign pledges to continue practicing healthy choices
  • Share a calendar of ongoing monthly events your wellness committee has planned, like lunch and learn sessions 

Show your support for healthy living and wellness programs at work by participating in Global Employee Health and Fitness Month. These easy activities can be done in offices of all sizes, and setting up weekly activities can boost employee wellness engagement overall.

How do you plan to celebrate Global Employee Health & Fitness Month? Share in the comments below! 

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