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Fostering a healthy culture at work

Luke Archer - Thursday, April 12, 2018

We spend a fair amount of time at work.

About 1/3 of our lives, to be exact!

That’s a huge amount of time to be in one place, and it can often be the downfall of all good intentions when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle.

At home, you have everything you need at your fingertips to stay on track.

But it can all fall apart in the workplace, where distractions and temptations are a regular part of the day.

So how do we ensure success and continuity at work?

Here's 3 places to start: 

1. What does your lunch room look like?

Do you have the facilities there to help your team make healthy choices? Eg, a fridge and microwave for storing and reheating healthy homemade meals, tea and coffee making facilities (so that team members can avoid purchasing high calorie, sugar-laden soft drinks).

It's also not so much what you have there, but what you don't have there that matters! Vending machines full of chocolate bars prove to be a massive temptation when the 3pm slump rolls around. Remove the temptation and team members have no other option but to make better choices. 

Office birthday cakes - the temptation is real! 

2. Ensure your team members are actually taking a break! 

We're all busy these days, and I know how easy it is to eat your lunch while you work, but there's so many benefits to stopping work and taking some time away from your desk. When you can focus on eating, and you're not distracted by a screen, you're able to be mindful of the food choices you make and the amount of food you eat. Mindless eating whilst tapping away on the computer is an easy trap to fall into. 

Plus, getting outside into the fresh air gives your brain the opportunity to have a break for a bit. You'll be much more productive when you come back to your desk. 

3. It's true that when things are going bad for a company, "the fish stinks from the head down." Well, it can go the other way, too! The way the leaders of the organisation are managing themselves is often reflected in the attitude of the team. If you have directors and managers of a company bringing in healthy homemade meals, and training for different running/triathlon events, for example, that's got to rub off on the rest of the team. 

Whenever a team member gets involved in an event, get behind them! Put up posters in the lunch room, give them a shout out in your newsletter, and if they're raising money for a charity, share how fellow team members can support them by donating, going along to the event to cheer them on, etc. 

Even getting your team involved in a group training session from time to time can have a massive impact on comradery and productivity. 

Fostering a healthy culture at work adds so much value to the lives of your team. And when your team members feel better, look better and function better, everyone benefits, including you and your clients.

About the writer: Luke Archer is the owner of MP Studio, a body and lifestyle transformation studio in Brisbane. He works with clients in both one on one and group settings, either at his New Farm studio or at their workplace. He has worked with Suncorp Bank, Qube Logistics, Queensland Rugby League, National Rugby League and Souths Logan Magpies. He has also been featured in Women's Health and Fitness magazine.  

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