Each of us is given 168 hours per week. Studies tell us we should spend 56 of them asleep, so really we’re talking about 112 hours a week. Most of us spend 40 of those hours at work. I’ll do the math for you: we spend more than one-third of our waking hours at work.
I have another “one-third” for you: one-third of adults in Massachusetts live with a chronic disease. Conditions like obesity, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, or asthma cause major changes to how we live our lives. From an employment perspective, these conditions also drive up the costs of healthcare plans and cause many employees to miss work.
A healthier workforce is good for both employers and employees. Workplace Wellness Programs can improve individual health, but are shown to reduce sick leave, health care costs and workers’ compensation.
For this reason, many employers are working to develop policies that support employee wellness. After all, a healthy employee is a happy (and productive) employee! Here are some simple tips you can use to be healthier at work:
- Use the Healthy Meeting and Event Guide when ordering catered foods.
- Bring your lunch to work instead of eating out. It will be healthier and you'll save money.
- Pack a zip-top bag of cut up fruits or vegetables such as carrot, celery or cucumber sticks. If you have a healthy snack available, you’ll be less likely to hit the vending machine for candy or potato chips.
- Swap healthy recipes with your coworkers.
- Go for a walk during breaks or at lunch.
- If you sit at a desk most of the day, set a reminder on your computer every hour to get up. Stretch, climb a flight of stairs, or walk a lap around the floor.
- Start at walking club with your coworkers.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Walk or ride your bike to work if possible. If you drive, park further away from the entrance. If you take the bus, get off and walk the last few blocks.
By creating a work environment that encourages employees to be healthy while at work, employers can reduce the impact of chronic conditions and create a happier, more productive workplace. If your employer doesn't have a Worksite Wellness Program, show them the Working on Wellness Toolkit. It has all the information they need to get started.
Check out the Working on Wellness website at http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/consumer/wellness/healthy-living/at-work/at-work-overview.html.
Now tell us – what things can you do this week to eat better and move more while at work?