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Five ways to help employees turn January detox into life-changing habits

7th Dec 2015
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Party season has officially begun.  Before long, the joyful indulgence of December will soon be replaced by a resolve to detox in January.

Quite how the most miserable month of the year became the month of abstinence is a mystery but it has become an established tradition.  Employees return to work vowing to eat alfalfa sprouts, visit the gym and stay dry. 

And then, a few short weeks later, February sees good intentions fall by the wayside with employees embarking on rigorous “retox” programmes. 

As this annual cycle completes itself, the opportunity for a healthier workforce slips through employers’ fingers for another year.

Should employers do more to support their employees’ New Year’s resolutions? 

The link between a healthy workforce and performance is well established yet staff sickness continues to cost UK employers dear in lost productivity.

In fact staff would actually like employers to do more to support their health and wellbeing. 

Here are five ways you can help employees turn January good intentions into life-changing habits which employees keep up through the year:

1          Detox the workplace

Set your staff up for success.  Help them stick to healthy habits throughout the year by identifying the top three unhealthy practices in your workplace and offering counter measures for each. Get rid of the biscuits and unhealthy catering for lunchtime meetings to improve diet; reassess work stations to make sure posture isn’t causing problems for your staff; consider how and when you use out-of-hours email.

 

2          Talk about the support you offer

Got an eye-care scheme, dental benefits, cash plan or other schemes which support wellbeing? Plan now to tell your employees what you offer and how they can take advantage of it. Research shows that lack of awareness is the single biggest reason why your people don’t use the benefits on offer.

3          Fill in the gaps where you could do more

In the last few years the rise of salary sacrifice, voluntary benefits and other new categories of benefits like our Healthy Discount plans have created opportunities for employers to do more to support their staff. Find out what’s on the market, what your staff would value and fill in the gaps.

4          Make wellbeing part of your culture

This is taking opportunities to remind your staff to make healthy choices and look after themselves. The organisers of National Eye Health Week, Cycle to Work Week and other awareness campaigns provide employee communications packs for you to communicate with your people around these issues. Put them in your annual calendar and use them to remind your people to schedule their healthcare visits as well as to prioritise or try new forms of exercise.

5          Make it fun

Nothing bonds staff like a competitive endeavour.  Sponsor staff efforts to lose weight or give up smoking and support local charity fun runs and cycle rides.  The added incentive of raising money for charity is a proven way to keep even the most weak willed on the straight and narrow.  This is at its most when business leaders lead by example!

Munroe Sutton supports employers with discounts on healthcare and dental care. You can find out more about us here.

 

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