Australian workers have realised the benefits of exercise and healthy eating in the workplace and have started to demand business health plans, according to the Human Resources Director (HRD) publication.
In a February 5 article, HRD revealed the results of a survey conducted by the Australian Fitness and Health Expo last year. The study found 93 per cent of respondents agreed exercise could help them feel happier and more productive.
Additionally, HRD believes positive health outcomes can increase a worker's ability to handle the stress and demands they are likely to face during a workday.
"An unfit employee is more likely to be less productive and engaged than the fit and healthy co-worker seated next to him," Australian Fitness and Health Expo Manager Shaun Krenz told HRD.
Mr Krenz acknowledged it can be difficult for employers and HR staff to incorporate exercise into corporate health plans, particularly when competing against time constraints.
However, he has identified four key steps businesses can take to encourage a happier and healthier workplace.
1. Invest in small exercise devices
Recent developments in fitness-based technology mean many tools and devices are more compact and unobtrusive. This means organisations can outfit the office with various pieces of exercise equipment that take up no more room than pot plants or other furnishings.
Having these devices in the office will encourage workers to reach fitness goals during their breaks or once work has been completed.
2. Promote healthy thinking
The first step towards improving workplace health and wellbeing is to change the attitudes of employees. Encourage your staff to step away from their desks at regular intervals and participate in corporate health initiatives by creating a comfortable, fitness-based culture in the office.
3. Introduce a fitness consultant
Not every employee is going to achieve the same fitness goals or feel comfortable participating in one-size-fits-all programmes. You can help support the health and wellbeing of all your staff by investing in a fitness consultant to educate employees on individualised exercise regimes and healthy weight targets.
4. Offer subsidies for gym memberships
Adding gym membership benefits into your business health insurance policy will allow employees to pursue health and weight-loss goals in their own time, rather than during the workday.
This means HR is not directly responsible for incorporating exercise into the corporate health plan, but they are still supporting employee wellbeing.
You can also look at subsidising the cost of private health insurance for employees as part of your business health plan. If you would like more information on setting up a corporate health insurance plan for your employees, contact HICA today. HICA is a specialist health insurance broker offering access to health insurance small business owners can rely on.