Whether you work in an office, factory, medical facility, school, or any of the other myriad of workplace environments, most of us spend a lot of our time physically at work. In many cases, we actually spend more time with our coworkers during the work week than we do with our own families. That makes workplace wellness tantamount to our success. And it means the opportunities abound to support, and be supported by, our coworkers. We already have our work in common; why not add another level to the relationship? We can all start taking simple steps to make our workplace healthier and help each other get to our goals through mutual support and encouragement. Don’t be the guy who is inconsiderate or unconcerned with other peoples’ goals—be the one to push them forward!
Talk About It
The first step is to obvious: Talk to the people you spend every day with and find out what they are looking to achieve. Once we know that, it’s much easier to support each other, and you may learn you have even more in common than you realize. Another big step is giving others permission to hold you accountable. Yes, it requires a bit of vulnerability, and a willingness to share with others your successes and struggles. But it will pay off. There will be less temptation to regularly bring “goodies” to the office to share, or go out for lunch instead of eating the healthy food we brought with us.
Implement Small Steps
Next, you need to establish a little office activity routine, and you will be off and running (pun intended!). Focus on what’s reasonable based on your job demands. There are many easy exercises and active things you can do during your work day. It’s not necessary to do everything on your list every day. Just take each opportunity you can to do something. The simple suggestions always apply: park farther away so you have to walk a bit; take the stairs instead of the elevator; make extra trips to the copy room to get more steps in; bring your lunch; and if others bring calorie-laden snacks in to share, avoid the break room as much as possible. Remember: It’s not always necessary to work up a sweat while at work—just increase your activity. It’s usually the small changes we make and adhere to on a regular basis that make the biggest impact.
Here’s some more advice:
- Comfortable walking shoes should be as much a part of your daily work gear as your phone; never leave home without them.
- There are lots of choices for wearable activity trackers and apps for your phone so you can always have the information you need to be sure you are staying on track. Do a little research and find the one that suits your needs the best.
- Take a good look at your immediate work space. Is it ergonomically correct? Does it allow for movement? Can you stand and work if you want?
- If you don’t have a lot of time during your work day, find a good short lunchtime workout you can still use occasionally.
- Group lunches are a great way to connect. Plan “outings” to your kitchen or communal space with your own meals, rather than always eating out.
The good news is that if you can get others on board, you won’t feel like the oddball. You’ll be the “outsider” if you don’t join in the healthy activity!
Take It Outside
While keeping your workplace choices in check is important, work also is a great place to find a workout buddy! You’re already on the same general schedule, and you can keep each other accountable and supported throughout the work day, before you go to the gym. You don’t want to let them down! In addition to always having walking shoes with you, pack a gym bag that you carry everywhere, so you can eliminate one more excuse.
Try and Learn
So, what’s the main takeaway from all this? We can start right away! Remember:
- Building a “workout” relationship with coworkers is something everyone can do.
- Be a positive influence at your workplace to help affect change in yourself and others.
- Be prepared to exercise when the opportunity arises and take advantage of whatever time you get.
- Plan ahead to make healthy food choices.
- Find a reliable workout buddy where the relationship is strong enough to withstand holding each other accountable.
- Have fun with it!
It will take some time, but is worth the effort. Good luck!