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How HR Professionals Can Promote a Healthier Office Culture

Posted by Insightlink on 08/30/22

Human resource professionals are the backbone of office culture. In many ways, they set the direction of the company through the people they bring on board and the company culture they work to develop. Without our HR professionals, there would be countless things around the office that just wouldn’t quite be right.
They are involved in helping employees succeed from the day they are hired until the day they leave the company. HR professionals help provide opportunities, resolve workplace issues, and play an outsized role in creating a positive work environment. Of course, that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the wide array of tasks and leadership roles that our HR professionals play.
workplace culture
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay 
Another role that HR leaders can play in their workplace is encouraging a healthier office culture. Healthy workplaces provide a number of real benefits both for employees and the company. For instance, healthier employees might have less stress and, ultimately, be more productive at work.
Here are some ways you can be an HR leader that promotes a healthy working environment.
Incentivize Fitness
Healthy individuals have more energy, are generally happier, and are more productive. Though many companies would like to capitalize on this and encourage their employees to be healthier, it is a challenge to do so without being hurtful or offensive.
This is where a motivated HR professional can come in and really make a difference in promoting a healthy office culture. Perhaps one of the most successful ways to encourage healthier lifestyles is by incentivizing fitness for employees. Incentivizing fitness can come in a number of flavors from offering time off for exercise, discounted fitness plans, or rewards for fitness goals.
For instance, some employers allow employees to take up to three paid hours of the workday per week for physical activity. Generally, employees have the discretion to determine which physical activity they want to pursue with a few guidelines. They allow employees to go to the gym, on a hike, or even cross-country skiing during that time.
Create a Culture of Health
Working in an office setting can be a challenging environment in which to maintain health. Studies indicate that sitting at a desk all day can actually contribute significantly to unhealthy waistlines and lifestyles. Here, again, HR professionals can play a leading role in encouraging a healthier office culture.
Creating a healthy culture isn’t a change that happens overnight, but it is one that HR leaders can help happen incrementally. For instance, HR professionals can advocate for all employees to be provided with adjustable stand-up desks, prompting employees to get out of their chairs a bit more during the day. Standing desks help burn calories and give employees a boost of energy throughout the day.
Likewise, they can encourage healthy initiatives in the office, such as encouraging everyone to drink more water during the day. Many employees that work long hours guzzle coffee to stay alert. Teach employees to lessen their caffeine intake, especially if they have underlying conditions. At a minimum, give them helpful tips to make their daily coffee healthier with sugar and dairy alternatives. Let them know that staying hydrated can help the body better regulate temperature and transport nutrients so they are more effectively used. Having gear like a company water bottle and keeping it nearby all day — rather than the coffee bar — is a great way to encourage more water consumption.
Make Healthcare Easy
Another role of the HR professional is to help answer questions about the company healthcare policy. Once again, this is an opportunity for HR professionals to help to promote a healthier office culture. Company healthcare policies can be confusing to many employees and the majority of them are probably missing out on some of the healthcare benefits of which they could be taking advantage. Helping employees understand what they are missing can be extremely helpful.
Some employees may be surprised to know that their healthcare coverage has become more technically advanced over the past handful of years. For example, many healthcare plans cover telehealth services now. This means that employees may be able to go to healthcare appointments without having to take as much time off work to travel to the doctor’s office.
In some instances, getting healthcare today can be as simple as sending a picture in lieu of a doctor’s visit. The dermatologist's office, for instance, can do a lot with a clear photo and may be able to assess whether or not a follow-up in-person visit is even needed. All of this information can be provided by HR professionals that are familiar with company healthcare policies and are willing to help other employees understand them, as well.
Human resource professionals are poised to play a significant role in helping promote employee self-care and a healthier office culture. There are plenty of ways they can do so — from encouraging healthy initiatives in the workplace to promoting policies that incentivize employees to exercise. HR should also help employees understand how to make the most of their healthcare options. Healthier workplaces are just a few steps away.


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