How to help your employees keep their New Year resolutions

January 4, 2017
How to help your employees keep their New Year resolutions

New Year resolutions are great – in theory. As an employer, nothing quite beats the feeling of a happy, healthy workforce, full of enthusiasm for life, and bursting with promises to become better people.

But New Year resolutions are only as good as a person’s ability to keep them. And depending on how pessimistic your outlook on life is, you might not be surprised to hear that a lot of people do not manage to keep their New Year promises for even one month.

So, before the month is even one-week in, we thought we’d put together some sound advice to help you help your employees.

Let’s start by crunching some New Year resolution numbers

The figures vary, but according to most polls, around a third of people in the UK make at least one New Year resolution in January. However, 63% of people admit to breaking their New Year resolutions. What’s worse, is that out of these resolution-breakers, 66% only manage to keep their promises for one month or less.

  • 33% of people make New Year resolutions
  • 63% of people break resolutions
  • 66% of resolution-breakers fail within the first month

The most common type of New Year resolution, according to The Guardian, is to lose weight. This is closely followed by similar health-related promises, including getting fitter and eating more healthily.

Here are the five of the most popular types of New Year resolution:

  1. Lose weight
  2. Eat more healthily
  3. Find more “me” time
  4. See family more often
  5. Cut out harmful substances like alcohol and tobacco

Imagine if your employees managed to keep these promises for longer? We’ve already been studying health and wellbeing in the workplace, and we’ve concluded that employees who are happy and healthy tend to be more productive.

So here are a few ways you can help your employees stay strong with these top five promises for the New Year.

Help your employees lose weight by offering free gym membership

The biggest New Year resolution is to lose weight. Considering that 30% of our life is spent at work, there is no better way to reinforce this resolution than by offering discounted, or even free gym membership for employees.

According to Employee Benefits, you can buy corporate gym membership for as little as £10.99 per employee per month. If you’re really struggling to foot this bill, then you might want to consider adding it as a perk in exchange for a little bit of salary.

Of course, you could always consider the on-site option, and build a gym at your office. Or, if you’re feeling particularly playful, you could follow the example of Boris Veldhujizen van Zanten, who made Pokemon GO mandatory at work in mid-2016, as a fun way of promoting the health benefits of walking.

Help your employees eat more healthily by offering free fruit in the office

The biggest downfall of people seeking to eat more healthily, is when snack-o-clock rolls around, and their tummies begin to grumble.

Within many office environments, there is very little choice in terms of snacking. And so, unless your employees remember to pack an apple every morning, chances are they will eventually end up back at the vending machine.

A growing trend within the office is to provide free fruit for employees every day. Think of it like a communal fruit bowl. Feeling peckish? Grab a banana.

Research published in 2013 suggests that offering free fruit at work has a number of benefits for you as an employer. For example, the following results were reported by employees who received free fruit every day from their employer:

  • 75% felt more valued
  • 80% reported a better quality of life at work
  • 45% cut down on unhealthy snacks
  • 50% felt more energetic
  • 33% felt more alert

Help your employees find a better work-life balance

You can support two of the biggest New Year resolutions by helping your employees achieve a better work-life balance: Finding more “me” time, and spending more time with family.

But how do you help employees find a better work-life balance? One answer is flexible working.

“Flexible working should be open to everyone” says Cary Cooper, professor of Organisational Psychology at MBS Manchester University. “It provides employees with more control. It transmits trust, [and] allows for a better work-life balance.”

Flexible working can mean a lot of things. It could be as little as helping employees to fit their work around school runs and other responsibilities, or it could be as much as allowing full flexibility of when, where, and how, they work. Other ways to help your employees find a better work-life balance include:

  • Emails and phone calls to be switched off during annual leave
  • Arrange family-friendly activities (such as “bring your kids to work day”)
  • Encourage regular breaks – “working through” can burn you out

Help your employees cut out harmful substances

Many people promise to stop smoking in the New Year. Many more people promise to cut down on alcohol consumption (or even quit drinking full stop).

Now, you might think that there is nothing you can do about these promises – but there is actually quite a lot you can do. Let’s take alcohol consumption as an example.

How many times have you arranged an office party and provided a free bar? Or offered out crates of beer as rewards for good performance? It might sound simple, but by providing alternatives to alcohol-themed celebrations and rewards, you’re taking your employees away from temptation.

Next time you arrange a social event, see if you can find something that involves staying sober. For example, a trip to the cinema, or even to a theme park.

Smoking is a bit tougher. The NHS provides a pretty comprehensive document for employers who want to help employees kick the habit. In a nutshell, you should be aware of their intention to quit, and be supportive of program(s) they subscribe to.

On a more serious level, you may have employees who have secretly vowed to cut out illegal drug or substance abuse. We published some good advice last year on what to do if you suspect drug abuse in the workplace – you might find it beneficial to have a quick skim read here.

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