How to Prioritize Physical Wellness in the Workplace

On average, Americans who work full-time spend nearly 8 hours a day at their worksite. That's a long time to be stuck behind a desk. Several studies show that just a short, 20-minute walk outside can improve short-term memory by up to 20%. So why aren't we moving more?

Everyone knows that regular exercise is beneficial to their physical well-being, but it can also improve work performance. And with remote and hybrid work becoming the norm, employers are in a unique position to encourage physical activity.

As you look to address the health and wellness of your workforce this year, make sure your employee wellness program covers physical wellness, one of the 6 areas of well-beingThe physical dimension of well-being covers all areas of health that relate to physical aspects of the body — nutrition, exercise, weight management, tobacco and alcohol use, ergonomics, disease prevention, and more. All 6 areas of well-being are connected — you can’t really improve mental health without prioritizing physical health, i.e. sufficient sleep, healthy diet, and exercise. 

As we begin the first installment of our wellness series, we're diving deeper into physical wellness and how you can implement it in your employee wellness program.

Encouraging Physical Wellness in the Workplace

Prior to when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, working long hours and not prioritizing one's health was celebrated. Not anymore.

Today, employees are looking for balance. They want to blend their work and personal lives in a healthier way; they've realized stressful work environments are no longer sustainable. Or enjoyable. Plus, well-rested employees are more positive and more productive. According to an article by Sleep Foundation, well-rested employees are less likely to make errors and omissions.

Insufficient sleep has been linked to the development of chronic diseases and conditions, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression, according to the CDC. Needless to say, rest and physical well-being play a major role in an employee's overall happiness and success.

With hybrid and remote work expected to remain the most preferred work models this year, exercise will take on a bigger role as employees have more flexibility to focus on their physical and mental health.

Making the time to move during the day is now viewed as a critical component of one's physical and mental well-being. As your workplace evolves, try to be flexible and make exercise more accessible for your employees.

You could provide access to facilities and programs that help your employees stay active. Consider implementing policies and incentives to encourage more physical movement. Try offering flex time and paid activity breaks to your employees or adding short breaks of activity or stretching during long meetings.

Walking meetings are also gaining popularity — they boost energy levels, and enhance well-being by incorporating movement and fresh air. Additionally, the outdoors increases brain function, which can help stimulate creativity, innovation, and memory. 

These physical wellness initiatives will encourage your employees to achieve a healthier work-life balance and make them feel more productive, overall boosting your staff's morale.

Each month, we'll continue to break down these 6 categories of well-being in greater detail — be sure to follow along and don't miss out on how you can invest in wellness to help your employees thrive.

Need some help? Let us guide you. At OnSite Wellness, employee health and wellness is our specialty. We can help you implement the 6 areas of wellness in your program so you can build a happier, healthier workforce.

Reach out today to get started.