What to do when you don't have a workplace health program
Healthier Workplace WA would be thrilled if every workplace in the state had a workplace health program. Our job would be done!
But we recognise that many workplaces are a long way from this point and that’s okay. There are still lots of ways to encourage healthy behaviour in your workplace without a formal strategy, budget or big investment of time.
The key is to go for quick wins – small actions that kick-start a culture of healthy behaviour. Here are a few that our advisors have put together. You don’t need to try and implement all of these. Think about what would be most appropriate for your workplace and start small.
Healthier eating and drinking
- Get hold of the excellent free resources (recipe books, online calculators and leaflets) that organisations like LiveLighter produce and make them available to workers.
- Display our free posters encouraging workers to drink more water and snack on fruit.
- Take a look at what food is offered at work functions and meetings. If you think it could be healthier, this Healthier Catering Guide from Healthy Choices Healthy Futures suggests ways to make changes.
- Get workmates together to form a weekly or monthly salad club in summer and soup club in winter, and share your recipes with each other.
- Start a lunch time walking group. Chances are you’ve got a workmate who is a keen walker and would be happy to coordinate the group.
- Remind workers of the benefits of taking regular standing, stretching and walking breaks to reduce sitting time. Take a look through the posters section of our resources for posters that could be displayed in meeting rooms and near workstations.
- Provide new starters and existing workers with information on local walking, cycling or public transport routes to and from your workplace. TravelSmart Workplace Services also has lots of information on active commuting.
- Encourage teams to enter into local sports events like Run for a Reason or the Freeway Bike Hike. It’s so much more motivating and enjoyable to train and participate together and your workplace may even sponsor the entry fee.
- Use your normal channels of staff communication (email, intranet, newsletters) to promote the Quitline – a free interactive support service for people wanting to quit – and to regularly remind smokers of the benefits of quitting.
- Run one of the Cancer Council WA’s free smoking cessation courses run by FreshStart Workplace Services on your premises.
- Signpost smoke-free areas, including outdoor areas where smoking is not permitted.
- Talk to managers about flexible working arrangements that allow workers to attend quit smoking activities or courses.
- Provide free water and non-alcoholic drinks at work functions. If alcohol is provided, ask workers to buy their own.
- Choose alternatives to alcohol when giving prizes, thank you gifts or for fundraising.
- Think about organising staff events at times when alcohol is not expected to be served, for example at morning or afternoon tea.
- Speak to managers about becoming an alcohol-free workplace and about leading by example.
These are just a few of the quick wins your workplace could try. For more suggestions have a look at our strategies for healthy eating and drinking, physical activity, smoke-free and alcohol-free workplaces.
Let me know what you'll be trying in your workplace.
Until next time,
The Happy Worker
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