Healthy Work, Healthy Staff

by | Mar 5, 2021 | Work Wellbeing | 0 comments

When we talk about healthy workplaces a lot of the advice is around changing menus in staff restaurants or launching big exercise programs in the grounds but what if your workplace restaurant is a tiny kitchen out the back and the grounds consist of the two available parking spaces? Can you still run a workplace wellness program or make changes to help staff embrace their health?

Smaller business can sometimes struggle with workplace wellness but there is still a lot you can do. You may have fewer resources but on the other hand you are usually closer to staff and colleagues and will probably have a good feel for what people want and need.

Two of the arms of workplace wellness are fitness and food. You can think about doing one or the other or both. Do start by talking to everyone and see what interests them. You may have staff and colleagues who are keen to get fit; losing weight might be the target or simply learning more about nutrition may be what gets everyone involved.

Fitness in your workplace

The benefits of exercise are enormous – from higher energy levels to better mood to less anxiety and depression. Most people do want to be fit but they often lack the encouragement and opportunity to take action. People can be shy of heading out fat and unfit in lycra but encouragement and support will help. Many of the people who are skinny and fit in lycra started out just like you. And the lycra is not compulsory. Leading through work can get people started on fitness and there are lots of ways to get going:


Charity runs, walks and cycles

Get involved with local or national groups and see if you can raise money for charity and get fit at the same time.

Check out the local 5km runs in your area

There are more and more of these and they are very welcoming. Start a running (or even a slightly-faster-than-walking) group with the aim of completing a 5km run in the near future. You can train separately on two days a week and join together for one day and for the final event. And once you have one 5km done…

Lunchtime walks

Running is not everyone’s thing but you can start a walking club that takes place at lunchtime once or twice a week.

Take on a national event...

…like the women’s mini-marathon or the Cork or Dublin Marathons. The beauty of the mini-marathon is that walking it is very acceptable and it is good training for anyone who is really unfit. It’s also a great day out.

Ask around locally...

…and see if there is someone who would come to work and run a fitness class. You will need some space but if you have a local pilates, martial arts or aerobics class they may be happy to run something in your workplace. Do talk to staff and see what they might like. Alternatively, talk to other local fitness businesses and see if you can arrange a discount for your staff in local gyms or exercise classes.

Putting up signs around fitness can help

There are some great tips and infographics online that you can put up around your workplace to help people to think more about exercise. Some ideas include:


  • Did you know you burn 5 calories for every 12 steps you climb and none for every lift you take?
  • Did you know the average person spends 7.7 hours per day sitting? Take just 30 minutes per day to move.
  • Did you know it takes 200 muscles to take one step? Can you walk to work or get off the bus a few stops early?
  • Did you know that a pound of muscle burns three times more calories than a pound of fat? That means you burn more calories even when you’re sitting!
  • Regular exercise lets you eat more without gaining weight. Repeat after me: “I run because I really, really, really love food”
  • Did you know that adults need 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per week?
  • Did you know that walking regularly halves your chances of catching a cold or ‘flu?
  • 20 minutes of walking – or any exercise – per day reduces blood pressure?

Inspiring Ideas

Finally watch the video below, with your staff & colleagues. It is called 23 ½ hours and it is an amazing and simple look at the benefits of exercise. It is about 8 minutes long and worth every second you give it:

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