Easy, low-cost ways to keep employees healthier

| Print |  Email
Thursday, May 01, 2008

Let’s be honest, there is only so much an ergonomically friendly office chair can do to promote health.

As companies grapple with ever-increasing health-care premiums, the need to keep employees happy and healthy can be enough to give a manager high blood pressure. A large company is more likely to have the resources to bring in a hotshot wellness consulting company.

But there are simple, low-cost and stress-free ways a small company can help keep its workers healthier.

It can be as practical as casting off the candy vending machine or as creative as a joke of the day. So lighten up, because laughing, experts say, is incredibly healthy.

Businesses also can encourage employees to ride a bike to work by setting aside adequate bike rack or locker space, says Tammy Kepple, with Kaiser Permanente Northwest. She helps small businesses find practical ways to keep their employees fit. It’s part of what Kepple describes as the importance of environmental design and workplace health.

Kepple also suggests “walking meetings,” where employees walk and conduct business at the same time instead of sitting on their rumps at a table. So go ahead; feel giddy while burning those calories during work.

“The thinking is changing now,” says Kepple. “A supportive environment is important to employees.”

No matter how good the idea, though, it will not catch hold with employees unless supervisors also participate because workers fear looking like slackers in front of their boss, says Tanya Barham, CEO of Recess, a Portland-based workplace wellness consulting firm.

“There is no silver bullet,” says Barham. “But it must be easy and convenient.”

Recess created an office competition for law firm Bullivant Houser Bailey challenging workers to trek the building stairway instead of lazily using the elevator. Attorneys square off against staff, and those who use the stairs more often win. Of course, the winning team also gets bragging rights.

“It has absolutely been a hit,” says Mike Moreland, human resources director at the Portland law firm. “It’s fun and easy to measure.”

 

JASON SHUFFLER



Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 

More Articles

Behind the curtain: What students should know about accreditation and rankings

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, December 04, 2014
120414-edurating-thumbBY DEBRA RINGOLD | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

How important are institutional and/or program evaluations provided by third parties in selecting a college or university program?


Read more...

Tackling the CEO-worker pay gap

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY OREGON BUSINESS STAFF

An SEC rule targets the disparity between executive and employee compensation, reigniting a long-standing debate about corporate social responsibility.


Read more...

Convention Wisdom

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

After more than a decade of wrangling, construction on a convention center hotel in Portland is slated to start this summer. But debate over project financing continues.


Read more...

That's Not a Watch (This Is a Watch)

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Smartwatches are all the rage. But old-fashioned timepieces keep on ticking.


Read more...

The short list: 4 companies engaged in a battle of the paddles

The Latest
Thursday, December 04, 2014
pingpongthumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Nothing says startup culture like a ping pong table in the office, lounge or lobby.


Read more...

Corner Office: Sheree Arntson

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

Checking in with the managing director of Arnerich Massena.


Read more...

Streetfight

News
Sunday, December 07, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

On Friday, Uber switched on an app — and with one push of the button torpedoed Portland’s famed public process.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS