8 December 2016 | Sadaf Saied
As a 2016 Office for National Statistics report shows, people are working for longer, so strategies must be applied with a broad demographic in mind to have lasting success for a healthy workforce.
The 'nudge approach' is the most effective method of initiating change among colleagues and a well-known idea in behavioural science. Positive reinforcement is more likely to get us on board. The nudge should encourage a habitual change, not a dramatic and permanent shift away from things people enjoy. But once people notice others making changes to their routine this is likely to instill change - as the success of the national 'Change4Life' campaign proves.
Businesses should think about how technology can be used in a health initiative. If an organisation has a social media platform campaigns can be launched on these. Look at certain trending topics online, such as the 'eat clean' phenomenon to see how rapidly people begin to do something different if the example of others around them is strong enough. But data online for colleagues should be supported with evidence of nutritional value from reputable sources.
With health-oriented technology falling in price, businesses could consider an initiative that contributes in part, or as a bonus, for a 'fitbit' monitor or pedometer to help colleagues measure activity.
Businesses also need to consider the varying cultural and religious dietary requirements staff may have when selecting a caterer as this ensures the whole demographic is covered.
Anything that shows how serious employers are about improving well-being will help to bring positive change.
Sadaf Saied is head of dietetics at G4S Facilities Management