Encourage teamwork to help workers reach their health goals

Many employers understand the importance of physical exercise as a way to reduce worker injuries and illness, but some may not know how to implement a fitness regime into the workplace. If the proper precautions are taken, employers can help employees get healthy on the job. However, employers may need to do a bit more than just instituting a fitness initiative or wellness program to ensure workers see results. Teamwork and support from co-workers are important for employees to achieve their health targets. Sharing a common goal can assist staff in getting fit.

Focus on an achievable goal 
According to a study from the Interacting Minds Centre (IMC) at Aarhus University in Denmark, a team will see stronger results if they share a clearly defined mission. Cooperation was found to increase when team members supported each other and understood what they were setting out to accomplish. The study noted trust was a vital component to team goal achievement.

Panos Mitkidis, a post-doctoral scholar at the university, said no matter the profession or activity, a team’s level of collaboration can make a difference.

“Cooperation is a prerequisite for most types of human relations from love to business, and from everyday interactions to more complicated activities,” Mitkidis said.

Encouragement from other people is important when a person is trying to get healthy, and businesses across the country have begun to institute workplace fitness programs to help workers support each other.

The Baltimore Sun newspaper reported thousands of federal workers participate three times a week in a wellness initiative created to help lower healthcare costs and increase productivity. Because staff members work out together in a supportive environment, they are better able to focus on their well-being goals and encourage each other. According to The New York Times, many employers are implementing fitness programs that not only assist workers in achieving their health goals, but take place right in the office. For example, groups of employees at Datalogix in Colorado run up and down the stairs together or swing kettlebells in the hallways. Datalogix employees also organized a weight-loss competition as a way to ramp up their fitness routines.

Take precautions to prevent injury 
It is essential that any workplace fitness or well-being initiative ensures workers do not get hurt while exercising. The New York Times recommended all participating staff members to sign a liability waver before beginning a workplace exercise routine and all trainers to be certified and be able to provide first aid. Even under professional supervision, workers can get hurt, so it is important that a fitness test is conducted before workers adopt a vigorous exercise routine to reduce the likelihood of injury. Employers also may want to consider ensuring a nutritionist is available to make sure workers are not losing weight too fast, which can lead to adverse health effects such as low blood pressure.

Employers can encourage employees to get healthy without instituting a complete wellness program by organizing a fitness day or distributing exercise materials. Creating a wellness event can encourage healthy habits among staff and help workers support each other in their fitness efforts.

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