Establish a Supportive Workplace Environment

supportive-workplace-environmentIn addition to health policies that encourage healthy lifestyles and personal responsibility, physical and social workplace environments play a large role in employees’ health and well-being.18 Offer employees access to a microwave and refrigerator along with filtered water to enable them to plan out meals and bring healthy food from home. To encourage healthy snacking, offer healthy food vending options, or promote fruit rather than cookies at the cafeteria cash register. Finally, make stairwells more inviting by adding artwork to walls or piping in music to encourage people to skip the elevator. These types of environmental changes help employees make healthy decisions and support progress towards health goals by ‘making the healthy choice the easy choice.’19–21

In addition to providing healthy physical environments, creating a healthy social environment supports workplace health. Strong social support from peers and supervisors reduces job stress, burnout and desire to leave the company.22,23 Social support also helps employees fight off illness, live longer and live happier lives.24–30 To foster a supportive social environment, create and encourage employees to participate in workplace affinity or peer groups such as walking clubs and lunch-and-learns where workers have opportunities to meet face-to-face both at work and socially. Building supportive workplace connections improves employees’ health and strengthens the business by encouraging teamwork and idea-sharing opportunities. In sum, supportive workplace environments, both physical and social, encourage healthy behaviors, boosting the impact of wellness programs and overall benefits to the organization.