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

Urban benediction

Linda Baker
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
072215 THUMB Credit-PontificalAcademyofSciencesBY LINDA BAKER

Charlie Hales has long viewed sound urban planning as the route to salvation: social, economic and environmental. This week, the mayor's city design philosophy got the nod of approval from a bona fide spiritual authority, Pope Francis.


Read more...

5 things to know about veterans in the workforce

The Latest
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
070215-vetsthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

There are more than 10 million former military members working in the United States.


Read more...

Marijuana law ushers in new business age

The Latest
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
062315panelthumbBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

Oregon’s new marijuana law is expected to lead to a bevy of new business opportunities for the state. And not just for growers. Law firms, HR consultants, energy efficiency companies and many others are expected to benefit from the decriminalization of pot, according to panelists at an Oregon Business breakfast meeting on Tuesday.


Read more...

House of Clarity

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Holding a Power Lunch at Veritable Quandary in downtown Portland.


Read more...

Farm in a Box

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Most of the food Americans consume is trucked in from hundreds of miles away. Eric Wilson, co-founder and CEO of Gro-volution, wants to change that. So this past spring, the Air Force veteran and former greenhouse manager started work on an alternative farming system he claims is more efficient than conventional agriculture, and also shortens the distance between the consumer and the farm.


Read more...

Photo log: Murray's Pharmacy

The Latest
Friday, July 17, 2015
OBM-Heppner-Kaplan thumbBY JASON KAPLAN

Photographer Jason Kaplan takes a look at Murray's Pharmacy in Heppner.  The family owned business is run by John and Ann Murray, who were featured in our July/August cover story: 10 Innovators in Rural Health Care.


Read more...

Modern design defines new Portland indoor market

The Latest
Thursday, June 25, 2015
thumbSnøhetta JBPM exterior www mir noBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

An international architecture firm known for its design of the National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion in New York unveiled its plan this week for a modern indoor/outdoor food market at the foot of the Morrison Bridge in downtown Portland.


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