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How to Have a Healthy Workplace Like Cotton On & other Australian Companies

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|Sep 2|magazine11 min read

You don’t have to offer free healthcare like Google does to have a healthy work environment. Below we detail what some of the healthiest companies in Australia are doing right and then share some small ways you can change your business and employees to be a little healthier, one step at a time.

Dietary Needs

Google’s pretty much the standard for the best work environment. The giant tech company with 800 staff in Sydney offers free meals in their cafeteria for breakfast, lunch and dinner, along with healthy snacks and fruit offerings throughout the day. Also, their meals are coded according to nutritional content.

Swisse, the manufacturer of vitamins, supplements and skincare products, supplies a free breakfast for early starters, encouraging employees to get the day started on the right foot. The company, which employs 150 staff in Sydney and Melbourne, also offers delivers of fresh fruit, a dietician to map out plans for employees to maximise health and well being and $1000 credit to products from Swisse including vitamins, skincare and sports nutrition options.

Wellness Options

Again, Google takes the cake in wellness options with relaxation rooms with sleep pods, causal work areas with hammocks and standing desk areas. Free exercise classes, massages and physiotherapy options are available.

“Having so much onsite keeps productivity high,” Shannon Stephenson, HR specialist for Google, says. “For instance, I recently broke my arm and needed weekly physio. At first, I was going to the hospital, which took three to four hours out of my day. When I switched to the physio at work, the difference was amazing. The onsite physio program has been fully utilised since the day we introduced it and has continued to expand.”

Full-time Swisse employees enjoy one day off a month. Cotton On employees have access to a free onsite gym, team sporting events and can bring their dogs to work on scheduled days.

Fitness Australia, in being true to their name, perhaps offers the most in terms of exercise and wellness options. Standing desks and exercise bikes are available for the company’s 23 employees in its main offices in Melbourne and Sydney, as are group fitness sessions and annual counselling sessions. To give their employees the option to get fit on their own time, Fitness Australia allows an extra hour off every week for exercise.

Help With Healthcare

Again, not every company can be like Google, as the company offers free health insurance on top of free skin checks, diet consultations and flu shots. But you company can be more like Cotton On, which has 1,000 staff at its head office in Victoria. The company offers discounted health insurance and onsite health treatments.

Check out a day in the life of Cotton On employees from around the world: 

Adapt to Your Business

Relaxation in your office doesn’t have to include hammocks or massages. Place leafy plants throughout the space, which will give the room a sense of serenity. Have a small section blocked off specifically for employee relaxation – have a comfy chair and magazines available to give your staff a few minute break.

As for free meals, most companies can’t afford to foot the bill for their employees’ entire dietary intake for a day. Swisse CEO Radek Sali discusses how her company started their free meals program.

“Our free meals started as one lunch a week, our monthly day off began as a couple of days off a year,” Sali said. “We expanded it as we could afford it. Setting up healthy practices is easy if you’ve defined the values you want to have.”

If you can’t afford one free meal a week, try offering a weekly fruit basket, and encourage employees to bring in their own offerings.

There are plenty of ways to invigorate and make healthy your work environment, and they don’t have to break the bank. Look for other ways to encourage your employees to stay healthy by opening a forum with them to garner suggestions.

Information sourced from Courier Mail.