Nutritionists and health experts say that implementing some kind of wellness program in the workplace can increase staff productivity, reduce burnout, and can save a huge amount of money of healthcare costs. Millions of dollars a year are wasted on healthcare scares that could have been prevented if in the workplace employers took a more health conscious approach, like offering more nutritious snacks and had an exercise program. For employers, implementing a health and fitness program in the workplace is just good business and you will surely see the results in your quarterly numbers. Also, what’s better than healthier and happier employees? Here are some ways that you can start encouraging health and fitness in the workplace.

For one, switch out the unhealthy lunches and snacks with more healthful options. This doesn’t mean you need to get rid of the pizza, but perhaps instead of buying the cheapest option, you could make the ingredients yourself and choose vegetables or locally sourced toppings. For snacks, don’t go with the option that has the highest sugar, sodium and fat content. Go for healthy snacks, like nuts or dried fruit. You can also find healthy alternatives to your favorite chips and soft drinks that have a fraction of the amount or none of the chemicals and derivatives. Or you can keep weight loss products and nutritional supplements in the pantry in place of unhealthy snacks.

Next, implement some kind of fitness regimen. Every other day you could reserve at least 30 minutes where employees do a light jog or even yoga in the office. If your business has a large budget, you could even turn one of the empty rooms into a gym that can be used for free by employees. You could even give your employees incentives and bonuses for a certain number of hours that they work out in the gym every week. All you need is a few treadmills, some weights and perhaps a few elliptical machines. Who knows, if your company gym is successful you might have another business venture on your hands.

As an employer, you could implement mandatory seminars or talks by nutritionists and health specialists on the benefits of health and fitness. This can have great results in promoting health and fitness in the workplace, because it is an opportunity for employees to engage and learn first hand that some of their unhealthy eating habits and sedentary lifestyles can actually be deadly. You can recruit health specialists locally or if you have the operating expenses you could bring in professors or other industry specialists to speak. Doing this once or twice in a two year period can really drive the point home.

Lastly, understand the statistics. Fifty-two percent of employees, out of the hundreds of millions that are currently in the work force, say that the company they work for does not do enough to encourage a health and fitness program. Moreover, only 22% of businesses offer healthy food in their cafeterias. In order to improve employee health and fitness in the workplace we need to look at the root of the problems – problems that can be only be solved by employees and employers working together. Overtime a health and fitness program and a healthy workforce is totally possible.