How to create a healthy work environment in 6 simple steps

How to create a healthy work environment in 6 simple steps

Creating a healthy work environment for your employees isn’t just the latest fad created by major corporations like Google and Facebook. And you don’t need a campus in Silicon Valley or millions of dollars to invest into making a healthy work environment a reality.

Every business, large or small, can find ways to help make their staff healthier and happier. The results of this could be higher productivity, higher customer satisfaction and greater employee retention.

In this post, we’re going to share some ways that every business can create a healthier work environment. You don’t have to apply every one of these strategies all at once—try adding one or two, or even surveying your employees to see which ones would be most beneficial to their lives.

  1. Replace snacks and sodas with healthier alternatives.

Have vending machines? This doesn’t mean you have to dump out all of your Sprites and M&M’s. It means that you need to also offer healthier alternatives. Include some Vitamin Water alongside your sodas and some granola bars alongside your candy bars. Not only will it make everyone who comes up to the vending machine think about healthier alternatives, but it will give people who are already on a health kick a reason to start buying from your vending machine. This makes it a win for both your employees and for you!

Employees eating healthy lunch at table
  1. Replaces doughnuts with English muffins and fruits.

You know those days. You decide to treat your employees to a nice breakfast, and the first thing that comes to mind are those glazed, chocolate-covered, fake-fruit-filled, sweet treats: doughnuts. As delicious as they are, and as happy as they make your employees at first, the sugar high is often followed by a sugar crash.

So while there’s nothing wrong with treating everyone to doughnuts on occasion, consider bringing in some supplementary items too, such as bagels, English muffins or a basket of fruit. It’s like the vending machines—you don’t have to get rid of sodas and candy, but offer up an alternative instead. Let your employees make their own decisions, and hopefully you’ll start to notice a trend toward the healthier choices.

  1. Partner with your local gym for employee discounts.

Sometimes, all you need to get someone interested in something is a little discount. When it comes to getting your employees to exercise, you might find that local gyms and health clubs offer employee discounts when you partner with them. You may also want to contact your company’s health insurance provider to see if they have any connections.

In any case, partnering with a gym or health club to get your employees a discount for joining will encourage more of your employees to start adding exercise into their daily routine. And a healthy employee will likely have more energy, take fewer sick days, and have an overall better attitude. All of which will benefit your company as a whole.

Sneakers next to office desk
  1. Bring in health instructors each week.

Another way to incorporate health into your employees’ lives is to bring health instructors into your offices each week for a special hour of instruction. For example, you could bring in the following:

  • A yoga instructor to teach some basic poses.
  • A posture specialist to teach employees the best ways to sit at their desks and use their mobile devices.
  • A meditation expert to teach how to reduce stress throughout the day.
  • A self-defense expert to teach personal safety strategies.
  • A dance teacher to teach basic steps.


  1. Give employees time off for health appointments that don’t count against their sick or vacation time.

A lot of times, we neglect basic healthcare treatments simply because doctor’s offices are typically open during the same hours we are working. These can include basic annual physicals, teeth cleanings, mental health checkups and other types of routine care. And while the appointment itself may only take an hour, the drive to and from, plus the wait for the doctor, can turn a simple hour-long appointment into three hours out of the office, which could lead to having to request a half a day off out of an employee’s sick or vacation time.

This is exactly why employees tend to neglect basic healthcare.

Another way to encourage a healthier work environment is to give each employee a half day each month for routine healthcare checkups. Since certain healthcare checkups may be a little more delicate in nature than others, I wouldn’t suggest asking what that checkup may be. Just say that one of the benefits is to take half a day each month that doesn’t count toward sick or vacation time to schedule routine healthcare checkups, such as physicals and dental care.

Remember that the benefit to you as an employer is that these checkups are preventative care that can prevent employees from illnesses that could take them away from their work for much longer than half a day per month.

  1. Reward those who work productively over those who work long hours.

Last, but not least, is the reward system that typically goes to the employee who spends the most time in the office. While there is nothing wrong about being passionate about your job, rewarding only those who work 60-80-hour weeks sends the message that only those who work long hours are meaningful to the company.

This, however, shouldn’t always be the case. It shouldn’t be about who works the most in the company. It should be about who gets the best results and who works the most efficiently. Maybe the person who only works 40 hours a week actually accomplishes more. And maybe rewarding that person will help the 60-80-hour employee see that they should be looking for ways to delegate their workload and achieve a better work/life balance.

As you can see, you don’t have to spend millions of dollars on a campus with a built-in gym, healthcare center or arcade to create a healthier work environment. Just a few simple additions here and there can turn your office into a happier, healthier place for employees.

What are some ways your company is working to encourage good health habits in the workplace? Let us know in the comments section below.