Want to help your staff become healthier? The gym may be your first thought. But really that’s just one piece of the fitness puzzle. Learn more about the everyday ways you can guide your employees to better health and performance.

1. Uncover what makes your employees tick.
To inspire lasting changes, help your employees understand the deeper meaning behind their health goals, says Craig Friedman, vice president of EXOS’ performance innovation team. The motivation of surface-level goals can only carry people so far, but digging deeper could have more long-term benefits. “When you’re presented with a choice to take the stairs or take the elevator, you look through that lens,” he says.

2. Give your employees options.
“If your goal is to get people moving more and all you have is a fitness center, you’re going to fail the majority of the population of your company,” Friedman says. It’s not always about hitting the gym. Instead, he suggests giving employees different opportunities to be healthy, whether that’s in the breakroom, in the cafeteria, or virtually for remote employees.

Wellness should exist everywhere from the breakroom to your employees’ desks.

It’s not always about hitting the gym. Instead, give employees different opportunities to be healthy.

3. Make everyday life a little more active.
Creating habits is much easier when new behaviors are tied to existing activities, Friedman says. Challenge employees with a weekly habit linked with something they already do. Try it: Every time you get up to use the restroom, choose one on a different floor and take the stairs. Or use a tennis ball to roll out the arches in your feet while you sip your morning cup of coffee.

4. Practice what you preach.
It’s easy to say activity is encouraged, but employees need to feel truly empowered to take a midday stroll or lunchtime gym visit, Friedman says. This means getting rid of hurdles that may discourage activity, like worrying about taking too long of a lunch break. What’s one of the best ways to make your team feel supported? Employees are more likely to take exercise breaks themselves if they see their boss doing the same. “It changes the dynamic significantly,” Friedman says.

Do it for the community. A charity component can attract more employees to participate in your wellness initiatives.

Fitness or wellness challenges bring your team together, and many people thrive on that socialization.

5. Let your employees help each other.
Fitness or wellness challenges bring your team together, and many people thrive on that socialization, Friedman says. The trick is creating groups of people with similar abilities or goals. That creates natural role models and keeps participants encouraged. It’s also important to lead participants to what’s next (think: Wellness isn’t just about this monthlong challenge). “It’s about creating interest in activity that leads to other options,” he says.

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