New Year’s Resolutions at the Office: How Employers Can Support Workplace Wellness Goals

Posted by on Wednesday, January 1st, 2014 with 0 Comments

We know the statistics are bleak: out of the roughly 40% of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions, only 8% actually keep them. Nonetheless, we try — and especially when it comes to our health.Eating right and exercising regularly are consistently at the top of the list. And given that most of us spend around half of our waking hours at work, it’s hard to deny that our workplace environment can have a significant impact on whether or not we keep those resolutions.

As the evidence continues to indicate that companies should invest in workplace wellness and employee health, it stands to reason that supporting New Year’s resolutions is worth the time and effort of most employers. Here are just a few ways to take expert tips on keeping resolutions and implement them in the office!

 

Coworkers walking together

The boss may need to take the first step towards a healthy office.
Image source: flickr user tedeytan

1) Lead by example.

Before you can support others’ goals, you’ll need to gain credibility by setting your own. To successfully promote wellness in the workplace, senior management needs to be actively on board. When the boss takes a half hour at mid-day for a brisk stroll around the block and talks about his goal to stay away from the vending machines in the afternoon, it sends a clear message that health and wellness are priorities.

2) Make resolutions social.

Sharing goals with others is a frequently cited resolution-keeping tip, and one of the easiest to implement in the office. Create like-minded “resolution clubs” for staffers who are looking to improve their eating habits, exercise more frequently, or even quit smoking. As behavioral science expert Lee Newman writes for Forbes.com, “Behavioral research has shown that in many common situations, publicly stating an intention increases the likelihood of follow-through by creating accountability and commitment… co-workers can serve as a source of feedback and help track progress toward a goal.” Ask your staff to check in with one another, asking whether they went to the gym over the weekend or how their commitment to cut back on sugar is going. You could even organize a team for a charity walk or run in the early spring, creating a long-term motivation to keep up new habits. Creating community is key — when people know their coworkers will be checking up on progress, they’ll be more likely to stick to their goals.

Notepad with resolutions

Setting specific, trackable goals is key to success.
Image source: flickr user creepyed

3) Encourage simple, trackable goals.

Simply resolving to “lose weight” means you can’t really tell when you’ve reached your goal, while pledging to eat fruit instead of donuts for breakfast is easy to track. Going to the gym everyday is a huge lifestyle change if you haven’t lifted a weight in years, while biking three times a week and taking the stairs instead of the elevator are two relatively simple, straightforward changes. While lofty goals are tempting to dream about, they’re also the least likely to be kept. Encourage workers to be specific, and make resolutions with progress that can be easily tracked. “Making your resolution more concrete allows you to better monitor it. If you fall behind, you know,” University of Oklahoma psychologist Melissa Burkley tells Time. This also makes it easy to encourage accountability; it’s much more comfortable to ask a coworker if he’s been eating fruit rather than how much he weighs this week!

cupboard full of chips

If your break room snack supply looks like this, how do you expect resolutions to stick?
Image source: flickr user daveboudreau

4) Provide healthy options in the lunch room.

From morning bagels to pizza dinners, office meals can present huge challenges to employees who have resolved to watch what they eat. Collaborate with the office manager in charge of ordering food, and ensure that a wide variety of healthy takeout options are included: vegetarian pizzas, brown rice and steamed vegetables with Chinese food, and salads with everything! Make it easy for workers to drink water (whether bottled, filtered, or even sparkling) over sodas, and provide plenty of healthy snacks like nuts and fruit instead of candy or chips.

New Year’s resolutions aren’t easy, but they do present a valuable opportunity to make health and wellness a part of the daily conversation in the workplace. Waiter.com can help your staff stick to their goals with customized online ordering and even a Virtual Cafeteria Service, allowing for a wide variety of healthy foods to find a home in your office!

When it comes to feeding employees and coworkers, make your company's food program really count! If your workplace dining plan needs to take it up a notch — or if you don't have one at all — Waiter.com is here to help. From Virtual Cafeteria Service to diverse menus to local takeout & deliveryWaiter.com offers customizable dining solutions for every business and budget. Contact us today to get started!

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