How to cultivate a healthy workplace: 6 hacks from a health startup

As the old adage goes, health is wealth. This holds even more true in the case of an organization. The healthier and happier your team is, the higher your company’s productivity. As company leaders, we often ignore this, and we expect our team members to take care of their health on an individual level. But even in a startup you can do several things to ensure your team members enjoy good health. Here we share what we did as an organization in order to promote healthy behavior within our company — hacks that you may find easy to emulate.

(1)Promote health groups

Our experience working with groups through our weight-loss app, Applause, shows that people take better care of their health in groups. Interestingly, there are few better places to create such groups than our workplaces, since that’s where we spend a third of our time, so try making different groups at the office. Some of the group types we have seen be successful are:

  • Workout groups: Promote people to make workout, running or hiking groups. With groups, workouts become more fun and people tend to stick with it longer
  • Steps counts: People love to compete for step counts, so this works well. Create a group for tracking steps and set a minimum target. (For example, a minimum of 10,000 steps is a good idea.)
  • Diet groups: At a workplace, people will most likely have lunch or snacks together. If the group has a healthy eating target, people will likely eat better.

(2) Set goals and share success

In my experience, people work better with a goal and a deadline, provided the goals are achievable. You can set weekly goals for the groups or groups can do it themselves. Recently, I was on a diet plan (prepared by our in-house expert) and my goal was to stick with the plan at least 75 percent of the time. It’s also important that people share their results and success among the groups as well as among the company.

(3)Get the incentives right

Giving incentives for healthy behaviors works in two ways. To start, people indulge in healthy behavior without you asking them. Then, it creates healthy habits. You can do following, as an example:

  • Meals: Sponsor healthy meals for your employees. Or consider reimbursing healthy meals
  • Gym memberships: Sponsor gym membership if your team maintains a minimum threshold of attendance. For us, the threshold is going 50 percent of the time.
  • Rewards: Do you reward your employees with goodies from time to time? How about a pedometer to tie back into fitness performance goals?

(4) Get A Scale

We have a scale in office, and it’s clearly visible when you enter our office. Everyone happily jumps on the scale without any prodding. I have even seen our visitors doing the same. Get a scale for your office too. People need to know how they are doing, and if you make it easy they’ll stay on track.

(5) Get healthy snacks

This is really important, as research suggests that snacks are where people let loose their indulgences and consume unhealthy food. Is your pantry stocked with M&Ms, chocolates and sugary drinks Time to get rid of them. In our pantry, we have fruits, nuts and nuts bars, kale chips, guacamole dips, etc. This way, when our employees reach for a snack, it will be a healthy one.

(6) Lead from the front

As a co-founder, I usually like to take the lead in healthy activities. Recently, our whole company participated in a local marathon, Diablo Run, and our CEO Durga led the way with a 50K. I think it sets the tone for the whole company when the co-founders lead the way with health and fitness.

A healthy organization can raise the productivity of an organization. It can also mean lower insurance premiums, less time spent at doctor’s visits and a more cheerful workplace.

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