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Dr. Paul Lanthois, Director of The Work Life Balance Foundation shares seven tips to make sure employees are in top shape, especially during these difficult times.  It's a long read - and well worth it!
With increasing oil prices and the global credit crunch leading to fears of a recession, it is a time of consolidation for most companies. There is one area that can stimulate productivity and reduce costs that the majority of corporations haven´t yet considered.... Improving the health of their workers. Businesses that don´t prepare and adapt may drown under the ever- increasing costs of health care.

For many years businesses have long considered employee health and wellbeing to be the responsibility of the individual. Although people are responsible for their own health, corporations have only recently come to terms with the impact health has on the company´s bottom line. They are realising that their company´s health is influenced by their employees´ health.

Smart companies are starting workplace wellness programs to help workers stay healthy and productive in an effort to lower health-care costs and employee absenteeism. A recent survey of hundreds of U.S. companies found that 41 percent had already launched a health-related strategy... and the results are paying off.
Statistics on bigger companies indicate that the savings can be almost $5 for every dollar spent on making workers healthier. And while larger businesses can afford more formalized health and wellness programs in the workplace, even smaller companies are can get in on the act.

From my 18 years of clinical experience, I have developed what I like to call a CHEW Program...A Company´s Health, Energy and Wellness Program. With a CHEW Program in place, it will help ensure that your company doesn´t bite of more than it can chew!

Here are seven low cost and effective ways to improve the health, energy and wellness within your workplace. If you are an employee and not in a position of management, it is in your own health´s interest to have a work environment that encourages health and wellness. Present these ideas to your boss as a low cost way to improve productivity and reduce absenteeism. Even if your boss decides against implementing a Company Health Energy and Wellness program there is nothing to stop you from introducing many of these changes into your own work environment.

1) Lighten Up Your Work Environment
Open the curtains. Encourage as much natural light into your work environment as possible. Whereas darkness may be nature´s sleeping pill, sunlight is better than a double espresso in the morning in terms of giving you a kick-start in the morning. Light of any form immediately shuts off the production of the drowsy melatonin, letting your body know it is time to get up and get going. If you are not near a window, try to get some natural sunlight on your skin during a break, particularly if you are feeling flat.

2) Live Plants
Surprisingly one of the most effective stress relievers in the workplace is having a plant or flowers to look at. Studies have shown that looking at natural scenes while performing tasks can lower our heart rate by three beats per second. This relaxing effect also translates to reducing pain. People looking at trees and plants required less pain killing medications than people who had to look at a wall.

3) Full Bottle Of Water On Each Desk
Drinking an adequate amount of water is the simplest and most effective way of ensuring that you consistently keep your insides clean and maintain high energy levels. Losing as little as two percent of your body weight in fluids is enough to impair athletic performance, dull critical thinking abilities and cause tiredness.

4) Put Fresh Lemons By The Water Cooler
The people who don´t like drinking water often don´t like the taste. Squeeze some fresh lemons into your water bottle will help the water become a lot more palatable.

5) Educate Employees About The Ideal Water Intake
You often read about that you need to consume 8 glasses of water each day but the amount of water that you need is influenced by your body size, your activity, the amount water in the food that you eat, the humidity and temperature. Whilst drinking 8 glasses of water a day is a good guide to follow, it is even more beneficial to monitor your urine colour. Your urine colour is a more accurate indicator of how hydrated you are.

6) Fruit And Nuts
Supply a fruit bowl and a bowl of nuts for each employee. Work out a mutually beneficial arrangement between your local grocer and your company. You may receive discounted or free healthy produce in exchange for the patronage of your company, employees and clients. It is a win: win all round.

7) Massage
It surely has to be the most pleasurable way to relieve stress and aches and pains. Nothing in the world can beat the bliss of having a massage. But what if there was a way that you and your workmates can get regular massages while at the same time, creating a unique point of difference to your customers and clients?

As many businesses have found when you have a happier and healthier environment it not only translates into improved productivity outcomes and less worker absenteeism. The additional benefit is that a healthier work environment with healthier employees creates a healthier and happier experience for your client. It will help your corporation thrive and not just survive because the health of your employees is your business.

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