Institute Health-Promoting Policies

health-promoting-policiesWorkplace policies play a large role in employees’ health and well-being and are key building blocks in creating an environment that supports health. Some examples of healthy organization-wide policies include no smoking in the worksite, requiring healthy food options at company meetings, subsidizing the cost of healthy foods or allowing flex time so employees can get 30 minutes of physical activity each day to make it easier for staff to adopt and maintain healthy behaviors.13 These policies should support existing programs, and make programs easy to use, accessible and relevant. For instance, well-designed financial incentives for physical activity can “supercharge” employee participation and consequent health benefits.14,15 One study found that employees who were given $25 to attend the gym once, and an additional $100 to attend the gym once per week for the following eight weeks were more than twice as likely to continue using the gym relative to employees who received no incentive.15,16 The effect persisted even after the financial incentive was removed, suggesting that the incentive helped motivate people to adopt and maintain healthy new behaviors.15,16 Another study found that employees given a fixed payment of $50, plus up to $25 more per week for hitting walking/jogging goals, exercised nearly twice as much as a control group that was just given $75.15,17 Designing health policies that support and encourage your health programs and goals will help maximize your program’s impact.