By Princess Jones

On New Year’s Eve and for most of January, resolutions were probably on your mind, with health being one of the biggest things most people want to change. Whether it’s about losing the pounds or about finally taking care of the nagging shoulder pain, many of your employees also have health on the brain at this time of year.

As a small business owner, you may be also thinking about making your office a healthier workplace for you and your workers. Healthier employees tend to be happier as well as more productive. And all it takes is a few tweaks to your company culture to get there.

Design Your Office for Wellness

Office ergonomics is all about making your work area complement your body dynamics in a comfortable way. Being seated in the same position for hours and hours a day can cause muscle strain, joint issues, and chronic conditions like carpal tunnel.

You can help by offering ergonomically designed equipment for your workers, including chairs, desks, keyboards, etc. Sometimes just placing equipment in ways that encourages safe use is all it takes. Consider having your HR staff make quarterly rounds to offer ergonomic suggestions to workers. Sometimes something as a little as repositioning a phone or adjusting a chair can make a big difference.

Give Germs a Pink Slip

A healthy workplace is one that won’t get you sick. An office can become a petri dish with sick employees spreading germs through close contact. The sickness just keeps spreading from one person to another in an endless game of Ring-Around-The-Respiratory-Infection.

If you want to promote a healthy workplace, consider giving your employees the tools to avoid spreading germs. Put up signs in the bathroom and break rooms encouraging them to practice basic personal hygiene, like washing hands frequently and coughing/sneezing into their elbows. Provide hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes for their desk.

Offer work from home days to your employees. They can use sick days when they can’t actually work and work from home days when they feel fine but might still be contagious. That way, the next time one of your employees gets the flu, he’s not still coming in to the office spreading it to everyone else.

Make Healthy Living a Company Culture

There’s a lot that you can do as a business owner to encourage your works to live the most healthy lives they can. Company culture can affect an employee’s entire life.

Promote preventive care by offering onsite health screenings and flu vaccinations. If that’s not possible, send out memos with information about where employees can easily get them using your company’s health insurance. If you provide snacks in your office, consider offering healthy options rather than sugary ones. Encourage exercise by creating company-wide events that certain around physical activities, like charity runs or field days.

And if you find that your staff is reluctant to participate, make it worth their while with some incentives. For example, you could offer an extra day off to workers who participate in training for a 5K. Or you could pay a larger portion of health insurance premiums for workers that meet certain BMI minimums.