How to Fit Healthy Habits into Your Busy Work Schedule, Part 3: Wellness

In this blog series, we’re exploring how lawyers can maintain healthy lifestyles amid their chaotic schedules. So far, we’ve examined two major aspects of health: Exercise and Nutrition. What we haven’t covered is how law firms can promote health and wellness among their employees. This last post of the series will tackle that part of the equation.

Firms have an intrinsic motivation to create cultures that embrace wellness. When employees take care of themselves, firms incur less medical costs associated with health conditions related to stress, obesity, and more. In fact, every $1 invested in wellness programs saves $3 in healthcare costs for corporations. Employees benefit too; those who work at a firm that values health and wellness use fewer sick days and are more productive. Clearly, considering your staff’s wellness is a win-win.

Here are 10 ideas for fostering health and wellness at your firm:

  1. Include health and wellness in your firm’s corporate values. The act of clearly stating these values in your corporate code sets the foundation for your culture.
  2. Designate a wellness champion or form a wellness committee, depending on your firm’s size. Appointing someone to spearhead wellness initiatives is one of the best ways to ensure follow-through on ideas. It also provides a point-person for others who want to contribute ideas.
  3. Provide a clean and creative work environment. As the saying goes, cleanliness is next to godliness. Being surrounded by a clean workspace will help employees focus on the tasks at hand. Consider upping the ante by designing a creative office space, which will boost morale and productivity.
  4. Consider ergonomics. Working can mean hours of sitting, which isn’t natural for the human body. Provide employees with standing desks and encourage them to move around every 30-40 minutes. Go a step further by bringing in a professional who will fit employees to their desks and offer recommendations for quality chairs, mousepads, and keyboards. And don’t underestimate the popularity of using exercise balls as seats.
  5. Organize different types of wellness activities. The key here is diversity. Mix longer or more intense challenges in with smaller initiatives – like climbing stairs and walking – to accommodate all levels of health. If you’re feeling ambitious, you could even provide employees with gym memberships.
  6. Ask firm leaders to participate. If leaders join in on the action, employees are more likely to follow suit.
  7. Connect your staff with professionals. Hosting health professionals at the office makes it convenient for your staff to get the care they need. Invite a holistic health expert in for a wellness talk or a nutritionist in for one-on-ones with employees. You could consider hiring a masseuse or a chiropractor too. And an idea for the whole firm: hold a yoga class in a large communal area.
  8. Offer healthy food. If you treat your employees to breakfast, lunch, or snacks, bring in vendors with healthy options so everyone can find something to eat. Shake things up by sponsoring a fruit cart for events like the office birthday party. You could even stock your kitchen or breakroom with nutritious finger foods, like fruits, nuts, carrots, and grapes.
  9. Host a health fair. No one can advocate for wellness better than companies in the health industry. Schedule it around noon to let employees chat with representatives as they eat lunch. 
  10. Create a Wellness Award. If health and wellness gain traction in your firm, establish a Wellness Award for the winners of health challenges. When your wellness committee introduces a new initiative, the Wellness Award could serve as the reward for the winning individual or team. Simply track participants' progress and watch this coveted award inspire friendly competition.

While it'll take some effort to establish wellness as a firm value, the work will pay off. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimated well-designed programs can lead to ROI ranging from $1.5 to more than $3 for every dollar spent over the time frame of 2-9 years. By investing in your employees' health and wellness, you'll help them alleviate stress, be more productive, and lead healthy lifestyles. You can't change the schedules that come with their job requirements, but you can create a healthy work environment. Encourage your staff to maintain healthy habits – like exercising, eating well, and participating in firm-wide wellness initiatives – and create a healthier reputation for the legal profession.