Expert Insight: A Fit Employee Is a Better Employee

Jaclyn Crawford Foresight, Management, Personal Development Leave a Comment

The majority of adults in the U.S. are overweight. Forefront’s go-to fitness guru shares her thoughts with us.

I recently read that a new CareerBuilder survey finds the majority of workers feel they are overweight. The results really aren’t that surprising, with 66 percent of Americans overweight or obese.

Here are a few suggestions on what executives and managers can do to help their employees get healthy and stay healthy.

Provide Workout Opportunities

There are quite a few ways that employers can offer workout opportunities to their employees:

  • Create a gym in the office.  A piece of cardio equipment, some free weights or kettle bells, some stability balls, and mats would be perfect and affordable. Make it easy for employees to work out before work, on their lunch hour or after work. If possible, add a shower area to the company restrooms.
  • Arrange for a discounted membership rate at the closest gym to the office. Many of the bigger gyms will offer corporate discounts in order to get new members.
  • Pay for your employees’ gym membership (especially effective if there is a way to track how often they go). Also, make sure employees are aware of any discounts or free memberships that are offered through their health insurance. Help them take advantage of everything possible.
  • Arrange for a personal trainer/group fitness instructor to come in two to four times per week and hold classes at various times. Make this free to all employees.
Stop the Sweets

One thing that seems common at all offices is the amount of sweets, treats, pastries and such that find their way into the office. Instead of rewarding employees with unhealthy foods, offer some healthy options such as fruit, veggies and hummus, unsalted almonds, etc.  Install water coolers and ice machines so that employees have constant access to water. Encourage them to drink up by providing company water bottles.

A Culture of Health

As the managers, if you are in the office 12 hours a day, eating pizza and not working out, your employees are likely to follow in your footsteps. Set a good example. How?

Work a more manageable eight-hour day. Employees have a hard time with work-life balance when they feel required to work all the time.

Create a wellness committee to come up with fun ideas and challenges for employees.  Have walking meetings. We all sit too much, and being in meeting after meeting is not healthy for our bodies. Take to your feet and walk. With today’s technology, the meeting could be recorded using a cell phone’s microphone.

Also, invite them to workout with you. Form a company softball, soccer or flag football team, for example. Then, you need to participate.

Be Flexible

When possible, allow employees to create their own schedule to work around gym times, child care offerings and group fitness classes. Many gyms offer classes at some odd hours, and employees might be able to take them if they could come in a half hour later than normal or leave a half hour earlier.

Are you a behind-the-scenes kind of business that doesn’t see customers face to face? Allow employees to wear workout clothes to work so that they have that mindset of when they are done, they will workout.

Encouragement & Rewards

Use the wellness committee to create fun challenges and encourage (but not mandate) that employees participate. The more that sign up, the more their friends will consider signing up. Offer rewards such as cash, a gym membership, time off, gift cards and the like.

Another way to reward employees is to offer to pay race fees for those who participate in road races (5K, 10K, etc.). While they can train for free, those race entrance fees can add up.

There are many ways that employers can help their employees get healthy and stay healthy. And what is best for the employees is best for the employers in the long run—less absenteeism, more productivity and happier staff members.



Glenneth Reed a certified Holistic Health Coach, blogs at Let’s Talk and Walk. She is 43 and trying to get healthy through walking, cycling, making healthier decisions and having fun. During the day she is an AdWords Specialist for an Internet marketing company.


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