According to the Mayo Clinic, sitting is the new smoking. With the majority of people lacking physical movement throughout the day, the need for healthy work environment is vital. Because, unfortunately, encouraging your employees to just walk more on their breaks or in between work activities just doesn’t cut it. We’ll be talking about healthy work environment examples to counteract this growing problem.

19 Healthy Work Environment Examples to Upgrade Your Employees Physical Well-Being

Healthy Work Environment Examples

We compiled a list of 19 favorite healthy work environment examples that our WellSteps guides have shared with many companies and their employees. Having a positive work culture around physical movement contributes to:

  • increased productivity
  • decreased absenteeism
  • lower health care costs
  • improved mental health

So just putting a few of these ideas into place will contribute to a better well-being for not only your employees, but your company as a whole.

RELATED: How to Use Wellness Programs to Boost Team Morale

1. Incentivize Employees to Walk to a Specific Location

Instead of taking laps around the room, if all of your team members visited a certain place away from their work station, the activity could be gamified. It could be a location that everyone enjoys and so getting away to visit it on foot, especially if outdoors, is a welcome break. Some companies incentivize group goals with swag, an early release day, or raffle prizes.

2. Participate in Community Walks

During work hours, your company could sponsor fundraising endeavors (like March of Dimes) and have employees signup to represent. Not only is it supporting the health of employees and others in your community, it creates a bond that your organization is a part of for the greater good.

3. Develop Indoor and Outdoor Wellness Trails – WellSteps Favorite of Healthy Work Environment Examples

Just like universities or airports have distance maps and path suggestions, you can develop the same for your organization’s property and surrounding public spaces. Have varied length options, both indoor and outdoor. Also ensure that a few routes are ADA accessible for everyone.

Healthy Work Environment Examples by encouraging walks

4. Add Artwork and Interesting Decor to Trafficked Areas

Gray walls and empty areas with nothing to brighten up the space certainly deflate the energy. If you’re trying to encourage walking through certain areas, or need a better mood for a heavily trafficked pathway, consider decorating the environment. You can add certain elements to increase productivity and make things more comfortable for workers. Try gathering art work from your employees children, comic strips, or art from local artists to spotlight in the areas you are looking to spruce up!

RELATED: 7 Reasons Every Worksite Should Offer An Environmental Wellness Program

5. Hold Walking Meetings With Small Groups

If meetings contain no more than five people or so, encourage your people to have walking meetings. Instead of sitting around a blank table, walk in one direction for the first half of the time allotted, then return. Movement can spark ideas during discussions and lead to healthier mobility for many.

6. Offer Flexible Lunch Breaks For “Buddy” Walks

Catching up with coworkers at lunch time is a highlight of most work days. Allowing your employees to connect with other employees, even from different departments or areas, benefits everyone. Turning the time into completing a small distance goal with a friend encourages greater participation rather than forcing physical movement with people they may not connect with.

7. Incentivize Distance Parking or Biking to Work

Give employees rewards for when they intentionally build movement into their commute to work. Those that park far away on purpose, or ride their bike to work, have taken their mandatory work to a healthy work environment. For employees that live too far away for a daily bike ride, provide them with ideas for areas where they park to still get a few good walks in each day.

8. Promote a Stair Climbing Competition

If your workplace has a number of stairwells, put them to good use. With the honor system, or if you have the ability to scan employee badges easily, track who travels up and down the stairs the most in a period of time while moving around the workplace. Let employees turn in stair tracking data from their smart devices or fitness wearables too.

RELATED: 10 Effective Ways to Motivate Employees in the Workplace

9. Hold Bend and Stretch Sessions Before the Workday – Newest of Growing Healthy Work Environment Examples

These could be virtual 15 minute windows that employees tune into from their work computers or devices before the morning meetings start. Or have a gathering place daily or weekly where everyone can hear the full department or company updates while stretching. Make sure poses are simple enough for everyone and there is enough space for comfort.

stretching as Healthy Work Environment Examples

10. Have Movement Breaks During Long Meetings or Trainings

Build in break times for every hour of sitting so that everyone can take a mental pause, but move around as much as possible too. Remind your managers and team leads that conduct the meetings to ensure this happens. You could require that everyone move out of the room or meeting place to guarantee they at least stand rather than just staying put waiting for everyone to return.

11. Highlight Places Around the Worksite for Physical Activities

You don’t have to stick with just walking. Open wall spaces can do well for wall sits. Long hallways can function as a great place to do lunges the entire way. Empty corners can allow people to get down and do push-ups or sit-ups. Have a pull-up bar on designated door frames that can be used when employees pass through.

RELATED: 50 Office Challenge Ideas Including Office Fitness Challenges for 2023

12. Start Clubs for Running, Biking, Skating, or Dancing – An Employee Favorite of Healthy Work Environment Examples

Especially for larger companies where many employees don’t know each other, you can have clubs that get together for common interests. Let them plan regular activities or get together, even for just half an hour a week before or after work. Any sports or hobbies including movement or exercise will work great.

13. Have a Goal Chart Tracking Progress in the Office

Whatever the current wellness challenge or company health goal is, have a visual showing progress for everyone to see. Whether it’s a competition or anonymous efforts being tracked, keep it updated and engaging to encourage support.

14. Negotiate Corporate Discounts for Health Memberships

Work with local gyms, health clubs, or sporting centers to get special rates for your employees. Offer them as a benefit and hold occasional get togethers or events there. Don’t require your people to have memberships, but make them available and worthwhile.

RELATED: Engaged Employees: How Can a Wellness Program Help

15. Hang Fitness Posters In Strategic Areas

Put visuals of simple exercises and movements team members can do in their regular areas. Show instructional pictures of how to perform the actions at their desks, or even options for when they’re sitting. Includes stretches, quick small aerobics staying in one place, or regular items that can be lifted or moved.

workplace wellness ideas, gym equipment swap

16. Exercise Equipment Swap

Have an area where basic exercise equipment can be borrowed, traded, or used in most areas of the workplace. Provide, or encourage employees to bring items like:

  • light dumbbells
  • small hand weights
  • exercise bands
  • yoga mats
  • fitness balls

17. Invite Shoe Consultants on Site for a Day

Ensuring proper footwear and equipment will be key when asking for increased walking from your employees while at work. Shoe consultants, podiatrists, or even physical therapists can be brought in house for a wellness day and your people can get their feet checked. Same goes for posture or ergonomic specialists.

18. Provide a Bike Helmet Fitting Day – Most Unique of Healthy Work Environement Examples

Have fitness and safety teams come in house to provide insight on what types and sizes of helmets or sporting gear should be worn individually. Couple this with challenges or promotions you may be doing, like the encouraging for people to start biking to work.

19. Ensure Bicycle Rack Areas Are Well Maintained

Keep high quality bike racks available on site for your employees to use. If theft is a problem, keep the area fenced in and access restricted to employees with scanning badges. Make sure it’s well-lit for any time of day, and the routes to and from are clearly marked for other traffic.

Leadership as Healthy Work Environment Examples

There’s always one or two great employees that are the epitome of health. Company management would do well to follow their examples and be the leaders of creating a healthy work environment. But sometimes it takes a little help from the right guide.

Get started on figuring out the best wellness program options and start creating your healthy work environment for your employees today. Join WellSteps on a free demo and discover how you can put this into place for your organization.

About The Author

Dr. Steve Aldana

Dr. Aldana is the CEO of Wellsteps, a worksite wellness solution that leads the nation in wellness program deployment and engagement. Dr. Aldana authored over 75 scientific papers and 7 books on health risk management, healthy living, and health promotion programs. He has given over 350 keynote speeches across the U.S. on the ability of good nutrition and regular exercise to prevent, arrest, and reverse many chronic diseases.