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December 19, 2013 | 3 minute read

Holiday Hang-Ups: Staying Healthy in the Workplace

You sit all day. The vending machine’s full of sugary soda. Sandy from Accounting keeps a heaping bowl of fun-size candy at her desk, which you walk past on your way to and from the copier.

bigstock-an-apple-is-on-a-computer-keyb-44723527The workplace is where you spend most of your waking time, a closed environment filled with constant inducements to move less and eat more. At holiday time, those inducements multiply. Today, more and more Human Resources professionals are taking steps to create healthier workplaces, because they know that healthier employees are happier — and, yes, more productive.

Here at AICR, we’ve taken a series of steps to ensure we’re practicing what we preach. Here’s just a few of the ideas we’ve instituted:

  • The AICR Walking Club meets three times a week at lunchtime for a brisk walk around the neighborhood. The group activity helps members motivate one another to get and stay active. We’re looking into a running group for those employees who want to kick up their activity even more.
  • Monthly campaigns like our “Take the Stairs” initiative encourage employees to choose the stairs over the elevator.
  • The AICR intranet features a host of ideas for exercises to do at your desk, as well as healthy recipes and nutrition tips.
  • We host “Healthy Iron Chef” potlucks, where we choose an ingredient and ask staff to bring in a healthy recipe featuring it.
  • At monthly meetings, we invite instructors in to talk about a range of healthy living topics, from yoga to healthy weight loss.
  • AICR offers discounts to staff who join smoking cessation or weight management support programs.
  • We’ve instituted Healthy Meetings requirements, which ensure that food and drink served at all AICR meetings meet AICR’s Recommendations for Cancer Prevention. Our Healthy Meetings Checklist, for example, asks meeting organizers to choose modest portions of vegetables/fruits/whole grains over cake or donuts, and to opt for water, coffee or tea over sugary drinks.
  • We’ve rolled out parameters for Walking Meetings, which encourage employees to turn meetings that would otherwise take place in their offices into conversations that take place on-the-go.

And this year, instead of a holiday party at the office, we saved time, money — and a lot of calories — by hosting a lunch for staff at a nearby restaurant that served up a healthy and delicious meal.

You can keep up with the latest on workplace wellness with AICR’s quarterly e-publication, Health At Work, which translates our Recommendations for Cancer Prevention into a series of tips and recipes geared for the office environment. Each issue of Health At Work also includes best-practice profiles of organizations that have instituted innovative ideas for motivating employees toward improved health.

What does your office do to help you and your fellow employees keep active and be healthy? Let us know in the comments.


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