Many companies eager to enact corporate wellness programs have begun encouraging employees to eat better and exercise more only to find that it is remarkably challenging to actually achieve these goals. Employees want to eat what they eat and many are not thrilled by the idea of exercising in front of their bosses and coworkers. Very few people want to come in early or stay late and, quite frankly, what people do in their off-time is not an employer's business.
Therefore the majority of successful wellness programs focus on one key time of day: lunch. If employees can be convinced to eat healthier at work every day and to do just a little bit of exercise, you can significantly increase their overall health. To help your company along in this process, we've put together five of the most likely to succeed lunch break wellness programs. Offer your employees a no-pressure selection of enjoyable lunchtime fitness activities and you might be surprised how many people will join the corporate wellness movement with you.
Many people take a walk at lunchtime to stretch their legs, get the blood flowing and perk up for the afternoon stretch. Some walk to get lunch, some visit friends in another department and some just walk once around the building for a breath of fresh air.
Encourage this activity by putting together a group of people who want to take a walk and would like to go walking together. A power-walking group can plan their lunchtime route around the building, around the block, or even just up and down the office stairs to get the blood pumping before sitting down to lunch together as fitness friends.
Another very low-key way to encourage lunchtime fitness is a tai-chi class that takes place wherever you can find the space. Whether it's three people or thirty, tai-chi is one of the few exercise styles that will not put too much stress on business-casual clothes or put professionals in potentially embarrassing physical poses.
It is also great for circulation and the art of tai-chi was designed to sharpen the mind which will help with afternoon sluggishness. For optimal approachability, simply start doing tai-chi in an open area of the office and invite others to join. It's easy and relaxing to join.
If your office has a gym and you'd like to encourage employees to use it, start hosting classes. Let employees sign up for something like a spinning, weight lifting, yoga, or callisthenics class that will take up half of their designated lunch time and host the classes in shifts to accommodate different lunchtimes throughout the building. A scheduled class is much easier for someone who struggles with workout willpower to commit to and it will feel friendly with others there to work out with. Especially when led by a teacher who makes sure there is no judgment or comments about individual fitness journeys.
For younger company cultures, sometimes all you need are a few fitness toys to play with and a place to play. Stock up on hula hoops, kick balls, beach balls, jump ropes, and little trampolines and watch the fitness take care of itself. In an office of more than 20 people, at least one person will be unable to resist playing with these during lunch time and soon enough, others will join them. Leave these fitness toys in plain sight and make it clear that they are encouraged for use. As long as nothing gets broken.
Finally, there is the one great tradition of lunchtime exercise: going to get lunch. The problem is that between lunches brought in the morning and easy delivery opportunities, very few people still leave the office to pick up a sandwich or a slice of pizza.
Instead of catering lunch in the office, consider (at least once a week) putting together a group that will pick a nearby place for lunch and order literal take-out. Not "Take Out" that is delivered, but lunch you actually have to pick up from the restaurant. Simply walking out and back will get the blood moving and increase lunchtime fitness.
Here at inKin Social Fitness, we believe that corporate wellness is an opt-in process. The more fun you make it for employees to opt-in, the more wellness will be achieved. Whether your employees are doing tai-chi in the conference room, spinning in the gym, playing with hula hoops, or just picking up lunch, the key is to make your wellness program easy to join and welcoming for employees of all ages and physical capabilities.