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3 Corporate Health Dietitian Strategies to Create a Healthy Workplace Print

October is Healthy Workplace Month

healthy workplace month for balanced nutrition

It goes without saying that a healthy workplace is a good thing, and we all want one. But, exactly what is a healthy workplace? People can be healthy, but can your workplace be healthy? As a Corporate Health Dietitian I say YES, your place of work can be a healthy environment for you to spend many hours each day.

It’s easy to identify an unhealthy workplace:

  • Physically detrimental to your health and well-being
  • Saps your energy
  • Causes mental stress or inability to sleep
  • Lack of positive feedback
  • No work/life balance
  • Toxic, negative co-workers and management

An unhealthy workplace not only negatively impacts employees, but it can also negatively impact your clients, customers and products or services. Similarly, a healthy workplace can positively impact a business’s employees, clients and services.

What Is A Healthy Workplace?

A healthy workplace is one where workers and managers collaborate
 to continually improve the health, safety and wellbeing of all workers
 and by doing this, sustain the productivity of the business.

World Health Organization

6 Cringe-Worthy Corporate Wellness Statistics

Source: Quantum Workplace

  1. 16% of employees have work situations that negatively impact their sleep on a regular basis.
  2. 25% of employees frequently feel physically drained or exhausted after an average day’s work.
  3. 30% of employees frequently start their workdays feeling tired or low on energy.
  4. About 20-30% of employees feel frustrated, stressed, anxious, or annoyed daily or a few days a week.
  5. 25% of employees frequently feel emotionally drained or exhausted after an average day’s work.
  6. Employees who interact with customers on an hourly or daily basis are more likely to frequently feel physically and emotionally drained after an average day’s work.

There are several key components that work together to create a healthy workplace:

  • Workplace Culture
    The 2018 Global Talent Trends study found that 50% of employees want to work for a company that focuses on well-being, including an emphasis on physical, psychological and financial wellness. A healthy company culture helps keep employees productive and helps your company retain the best employees: happy employees are more likely to stay with their employer.
  • Physical Safety
    A safe workplace is a healthier workplace. Employees who work in an environment with hazards such as peeling paint, electrical cords strung across hallways or broken chairs not only have concerns about their physical well-being, they carry additional stress from working in an unsafe environment.
  • Healthy Lifestyle
    Employees are a company’s strongest asset. Employee wellness and nutrition programs encourage teamwork, increased productivity, reduced sick leave and workplace loyalty.

3 Doable Strategies to Create a Healthy Workplace Lifestyle for Your Employees

According to the Global Talent Trends study, employees want managerial support for their physical and emotional well-being. Your company can implement changes that result in a healthier workplace – and healthier employees.

healthy workplace strategies including the importance of nutrition

1. Provide Healthy Food Options

Healthy nutrition habits are also critical to keep blood sugar levels constant which helps improve energy, focus, mood and creative thinking. Many employees bring their lunch to work or go out for fast food. But does your office have a ‘cake culture’ where you provide sugary treats and snacks for office celebrations, heavy food for lunch meetings and vending machines with soda, cookies and candies?

Employers spend large sums of time and money on improving business systems to get employees producing faster and better results. Shockingly, little is done to examine the basic reason many employees fail to have the essential energy, concentration and productivity they need to excel on the job. Do you want to improve workplace productivity? Focus on lunch.

  • Healthy Vending Machines Options
    Study after study shows we eat whatever is convenient. Make healthy choices easy by removing traditional vending machine items such as pop and chips and replacing them with healthier options such as sparkling water, nuts, dried fruit, whole-grain crackers and more.
  • Walk the Talk for Wellness
    Ensure catered lunches and snacks brought on-site for meetings, events and employee breaks include vegetables and salad, hearty whole grains and filling protein-rich choices. Find a few of the health leaders in your organization that can form a committee with the assistance of a Registered Dietitian to come up with an approved healthy catering menu with local vendors.
  • Create a Healthy Lunch Challenge
    Post weekly healthy recipes, lunch packing tips or meal ideas in your company intranet, newsletters and signage in your workplace eating areas.

2.  Invest in Nutrition Education for Employees

Educate to prevent hangry (hungry + angry) employees. In the workplace, businesses spend thousands of dollars on complicated systems and organizational techniques that focus on productivity, when employee nutrition (the most basic solution to productivity) is overlooked.

  • Employee Nutrition Education Program
    Build an ongoing, long-term nutrition strategy as part of your corporate wellness program. Enlist the help of a Corporate Health Dietitian to help ensure your company nutrition education is credible and effective, including nutrition seminars, on-site nutrition counselling and video education.
  • Encourage Good Lunch Bag Habits
    Healthy lunch nutrition habits are also critical to keep blood sugar levels constant which helps improve energy, focus, mood and creative thinking. Skipping lunch, packing an unhealthy lunch or last-minute whatever is handy lunches can derail your employees’ afternoon productivity.
  • Healthy Eating Out or Carry-In Lunches
    It is possible to buy fast food or eat out without blowing your nutrition plan. Eating out our buying take-out is challenging because someone else chooses the portion size and quality, which leads to more calories, more saturated and trans fats and more sodium.

My Corporate Health Dietitian Tips for the 12 S’s for Eating Out

Corporate wellness eating out tips by registered dietitian andrea holwegner

3. Move More

Build a culture of activity. Do employees eat at their desks, and call or message other employees who are just across the hall? Research shows you can improve employee performance through small changes to their workplace environment. Long periods of sitting lead to increased risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes and cancer. The World Health Organisation listed inactivity as the fourth biggest risk factor for global adult mortality.

  • Movable Meetings
    Activity is essential for mental and physical health. When possible, schedule a meeting with a colleague while walking instead of sitting to improve not only physical well-being but also emotional health. This can be done either inside or outside, weather permitting. Leadership from the upper management and executive team is essential so that employees see this as an acceptable practice. If walking meetings aren’t an option, try standing meetings: standing uses more muscles than sitting.
  • Build a Break Room
    Discourage eating lunch at your desk – or skipping lunch altogether. Set up a work-free zone for employees to eat lunch, take a break, de-stress and recharge. If possible, stock your break room with healthy snack and drink options. Encourage managers as well as employees to use the company break room.
  • Write A Policy
    To be successful, it’s important for management to encourage and model a culture of activity. A written policy communicating the goal and benefits of increased movement at work reinforces to employees that their health and well-being is important to the company. Provide employees with opportunities for movement and activity including standing desks, moving meetings, meditation and stretch time-outs, breaks when meetings run long, and a movement-friendly dress code.

October is Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month, but the benefits of a healthier workplace last year-round for employees and the company. For more ideas on how you can create a healthier, happier workplace, visit HealthyWorkplaceMonth.ca.

As The Chocoholic Nutritionist, I believe anyone can achieve health without guilt or complexity, and that the secret to success is having fun! Our Health Stand Nutrition’s workplace wellness programs by our Corporate Health Dietitian team offer relevant, FUN solutions to reduce workplace stress, improve health and dramatically increase productivity.   

CONTACT me for more information on how our Corporate Health Dietitian team can help support your organization.

Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. They really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

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