Resolve to make 2021 a healthier new year for your employees

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With the start of a new calendar year comes a rise in resolutions to improve our lives. Many of us make New Year’s resolutions that are very personal. Others make resolutions that are based on family, career, fun or travel. It may seem as though your employees’ resolutions are out of your control, which is, in part, true. However, all great things start with a single step, and many of our steps occur at work.

Here are four common well-being resolutions and the simple ways you can promote healthier lifestyles in your workplace.

Work-life balance

As a leader, it’s your responsibility to establish healthy boundaries at work (whatever that looks like during COVID-19). Encourage your longtime employees to use some of that massively accumulated PTO bank. If your organization has the capacity to permit offsite work, develop policies and procedures around the practice and allow it. After all, well-rested and more balanced employees are less stressed and able to focus on their tasks.

Personal development

You may not have it in the budget to host a daylong training or send your team to conferences, but you can still enrich the lives of your team and bolster their skill sets through cross-training. When done successfully, employees feel empowered by learning a new skill. Not only do they benefit from learning something new, but they also will have a better appreciation for their fellow employees. From a management standpoint, you too can gain fresh perspectives.

Time management

While you cannot manage how your employees spend their time outside of work hours, one simple way to help manage the use of their time during the workday is by hosting meetings that are more effective. Where to begin? Commit to starting meetings on time. It may not seem like a big deal to start a meeting just eight minutes late but being on time shows you value others’ time. Not to mention, it saves the company money.

Reduce stress levels

Looming deadlines, repeated interruptions and changing needs are a tried-and-true recipe for elevated stress. Not to mention, all they just encountered and survived in 2020. Allow your employees to prioritize their day and encourage your staff to schedule quiet time when necessary. They’ll feel instant relief the moment they are able to take that task off their to-do list. It also never hurts to check in with your team periodically to ask them how they are really doing. It is great to ask how someone is doing, but creating a space of trust and transparency might allow them to more easily open up.

Want another surefire way to reduce stress at work? Many experts recommend physical activity to combat stress. Our bodies benefit from a surge of endorphins, deeper breaths and a little time outdoors. Encourage the use of 15-minute walking meetings, which are easy to do if your meetings are still virtual while you work remotely. These are a perfect way to touch base on projects and get some steps in during the day.

Placing these practices into your workplace will perpetuate a healthier culture. It also promotes happiness and well-being among employees and shows that you’re in full support of this year’s healthy resolutions.

In addition to these easy-to-implement strategies, many workplaces participate in wellness or well-being programs. For example, Priority Health offers PriorityWell, which allows companies to choose a package that’s perfect for their current health situation, size and budget. Talk to your health insurance company about the many well-being options available to you, and remember to have a happy — and healthy — 2021.

Rebecca Mason, RDN, is a registered dietitian/nutritionist. She is passionate about helping families and individuals improve their health through nutrition education and nutritious food access. She is certified in adult weight management and has a background in both clinical nutrition and wellness programming.

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