Physical activity and healthy habits in the workplace

With memories of fun-filled summer vacations fading away, fall typically ushers
in a 'back to business' mentality in the workplace and in the home. With it,
comes shorter days of sunshine, longer days of work, less time for physical
activity and the potential for work-life balance conflicts. Employers can play
a critical role in addressing these concerns, with benefits for both the
workers and bottom-line results to the organization.

"The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety recognizes that fall
can be a very busy time for Canadian workers, who may become vulnerable to
stress, burnout and illness," says Steve Horvath, President and CEO at the
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. "However, studies have
shown that employees who work in an environment where healthy habits and
physical activity during the workday are encouraged, report higher levels of
health and well-being, increased job satisfaction and productivity, better
relations with co-workers, and reduced absenteeism."

A healthy workplace results when corporate policies and procedures are enhanced
and strengthened by a management team that actively promotes a culture of
healthy living and creates opportunities for physical activity to take place at
work. For example:

  • Implementing "active" breaks during the day for stretching or walking

  • Subsidizing fitness memberships or classes

  • Avoiding scheduling of meetings over the lunch hour

  • Offering flex time for physical activity

  • Leveraging community resources (local gyms, running trails, animal shelters in need of volunteer dog walkers) to encourage physical activity

  • Reminding employees of the importance of good hygiene habits such as hand washing and staying home when ill

  • Organizing healthy lunch potlucks or recipe challenges

Further Information - Source: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety