It’s hard to maintain a healthy workplace when employees are constantly bringing in donuts and other unhealthy snacks to share. Having those sprinkle-topped, chocolate glazed donuts sitting in the breakroom can make even the most dedicated dieter give in to a weak moment. In order to better encourage employees who are trying to improve their health, implement a few healthy rules to transform your business’s culture. National Nutrition Month in March is a great time to create a healthier workplace. Here are a few ideas:
- No donuts. Donuts are one of the easiest and most popular breakfast foods to bring to work. They’re inexpensive and easy to share, but they’re also a huge stumbling block for dieters. Instead of just that hoping your employees can avoid temptation, implement a “no donuts” rule in your company. Explain why the rule is being put into place and offer healthy breakfast and snack alternatives. For example, provide healthy fresh fruit or whole-wheat bagels. For employees who like to cook, encourage them to bring in some type of healthy donut substitute, such as energy balls, instead. If visiting vendors bring in a box of pastries? Just send that box back with them.
- Provide a list of healthy snack ideas. A “no donuts” rule only solves the breakfast issue. To encourage healthy eating throughout the day, provide a list of suggested snacks that employees can bring for everyone. You might even have a “healthy food only” rule for snacks that are set out for everyone. Some ideas for healthy snacks include light popcorn, raw vegetables with low-fat dips and even individual-portion snacks such as 100-calorie packs of crackers.
- Limit the availability of unhealthy food. If you still want to allow unhealthy foods like pies or pastries, limit the time that they can be available in the breakroom. For example, pies and cookies can only be out for two hours in the afternoon after lunch. Try putting the food in a location that has less traffic: Rather than in the breakroom where everyone will see it, put the food in an out-of-the-way office that requires a special trip to get to them.
- Start a workplace wellness group. If you want to be even more proactive, invest in a workplace wellness program. Offer the program to any employees who are trying to better their health. Pay for a nutrition consultant to create an individual program for each participant, and let the consultant meet with them on lunch breaks once a week. To add more motivation, you could even include a monetary prize for employees reaching their target goals.
You can make a huge difference in helping your employees reach their health goals by implementing “no donuts” rules and other company-wide policies that promote a healthy workplace. A little creativity and a willingness to go the extra mile can make a big difference. Remember that, since healthier employees tend to be more productive and take fewer sick days, the benefits will reach you, the employer, as well as the individuals involved.
Stephanie Dwilson has extensive experience providing expertise on topics including health, law and marketing. She’s a science journalist published by Fox News, a marketing expert and an attorney with expertise in personal injury law. She’s also a small business expert featured by Businessweek and Millionaire Blueprints magazine and has worked as a marketing consultant for ministries and as a PR lead for one of the largest churches in America.