Full time employees spend a significant portion of their day in the workplace. Workplaces can improve the health of their employees by offering adequate health insurance, evidence-based wellness programs, and a culture that promotes healthy lifestyles.  Healthy employees in turn reduce healthcare costs and absenteeism, and are more productive at work.  A healthy work environment can be used to recruit and retain employees who recognize the importance of an employer who prioritizes health.

Utah Health Improvement Plan Worksite Wellness Toolkit

Active Living in the Workplace

Adults need at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week. Because many adults spend a large part of their day at work, workplaces can help employees meet the requirements to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, a workplace can create an environment that promotes physical activity in the following ways:

  • Provide on-site gyms or other physical activity facilities, such as walking paths
  • Allow flexible work time or breaks for participation in physical activity
  • Promote the use of stairs, such as by using signs or by making stairwells safe and attractive
  • Promote “active transport” (bicycling or walking to work), such as by offering bicycle storage
  • Provide showers and/or changing facilities

Presenteeism, or working while sick, and absenteeism are two costly side effects of poor health and obesity.  An estimated 8% of absenteeism cases in Utah can be attributed to obesity, which costs Utah employers millions of dollars each year.

Harvard School of Public Health

Make the Healthy Choice the Easy Choice on the Job

by, Monica Whalen, Utah President, Mountain States Employers Council It’s been one month since New Year’s Day. How are you doing on keeping your resolutions for a healthier lifestyle? Are you still getting up an hour earlier to fit in that workout? Are you still planning ahead to prepare healthy home-cooked meals? It can be a […]


Healthy Eating in the Workplace

Workplaces are an ideal setting to address healthy eating because of the time that most adults spend at work. Many businesses have experienced great success in assisting their employees improve their nutrition by offering wellness programs and implementing wellness policies. Healthy food options should be available at meetings and events. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends:

  • Offering a variety of whole-grains, fruits and vegetables
  • Providing low-fat or low-calorie foods and beverages
  • Offering foods and beverages low in added sugar
  • Offering smaller portion sizes

CDC: Healthy Worksite Food

Mental Wellness in the Workplace

A healthy work environment encourages not only healthy eating and physical activity, but also promotes mental wellness. If employers expect their employees to be alert, productive, and efficient while on the job, they must create opportunities for health and wellness.

Research shows that stressful working conditions can hurt an employer’s bottom line. Employees have increased absenteeism, tardiness, and a greater intention to quit when they are stressed at work. Work-related stressed can be reduced when:

  • Demands and pressures of work are matched with knowledge and skills
  • Control can be exercised over work and how it is completed
  • Support is received from supervisors and colleagues
  • Participation in decisions that concern an employee’s jobs is provided

WHO: Stress at the Workplace

More than 60% of adults work, many spending 2,000 or more
hours a year at work. Workplace wellness programs
can help make a healthy work environment.

In Utah, the average cost of absenteeism per obese employee
increases from $201 to $324 a year as the level of obesity increases.

Obesity-attributable absenteeism among American workers costs
the nation an estimated $8.65 billion per year.

In Utah, an estimated 8.6% of absenteeism cost
is attributable to obesity.

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