In recent years, corporations have taken the challenge to address health and wellness head on in the business environment. Companies collectively spend billions of dollars every year promoting exercise and nutrition, and the pay-off is often extraordinary. Employees everywhere are getting healthy and having fun doing it. Unfortunately, employees who travel often sometimes get the short end of the stick. From spending hours in a car or on a plane to missing in-office health challenges and the accompanying rewards, employees who travel have little to no company-inspired incentive to pursue good health.
Why not use corporate meetings as an platform to maximize health and wellness opportunities that manage stress, boost productivity, and energize the spirit? Not only will corporate meetings become even more enjoyable, but they will help create a healthier employee who delivers the best type of work and is more excited to do so.
Managing a successful corporate-wide meeting or event takes organization and effort paralleled by little else, so we've done some of the homework for you. Here are 9 actionable ideas you can use to create a healthy destination experience for you and your meeting attendees.
1. Don't just sit there.
Create physical activity breaks during long stretches of sitting. Host short games such as Minute-to-win-it or use walking music as quick dance opportunities. As often as possible, allow attendees to move around during sessions.
2. Walk it off.
Map out an accessible indoor or outdoor walking trail and offer incentives to attendees who take the challenge. Purchase inexpensive pedometers or create check-in stations for accountability. Choose a location where the meeting or conference design layout is conducive to spreading out and taking extra steps. Create a scavenger hunt or geocaching opportunity and offer prizes.
3. Get carded.
Arrange a corporate deal on a national health club chain and then select a meeting destination near a facility where memberships can be used. Offer to shuttle employees to and from the location and reward employees who choose to work out.
Ask the vending machine operator on-site to include healthy snacks for the duration of the meeting. (If the operator needs additional encouragement, offer to promote the vending machine publicly during the conference.) Place stickers on vending items that are healthier choices.
5. Get creative.
Handle the mid-day slump without caffeine. Caffeine, at best, is a short-term solution, and at worst is unhealthy and unproductive. Offer chair massages or hire a comedian. Play relaxing music or set up a fruit vending station with discount coupons. Host a game or challenge to promote teamwork and cut down on harmful toxins and needless calories. Without caffeine your employees may discover that they end the day with more energy instead of less.
6. Offer incentives.
Give gift cards to employees who avoid smoking or drinking for the duration of the conference or meeting. Use a lunch and learn to talk about the benefits of good health. Bring in a heath coach or watch a video on the benefits of pursuing good health on the road.
7. Book it.
Include in the meeting booklet a list of healthy restaurants to try or healthy dishes that come highly recommended at various places. Talk to the restaurants about offering a coupon in exchange for the free advertising. Encourage participants to submit pictures of their healthy choices and play them on the screen the next day.
8. Give it away.
Sponsor employees to take a company-wide walk or a team-building hike after a session and donate raised or matched funds to a charity of choice. Allow the employees who participate to select the charity and watch their motivation increase.
9. Be the example.
Whether you offer healthy snacks or take bike rides for charity, be sure senior management or conference leadership leads the way in attitude and activity. Meeting attendees will notice if leadership is taking its own advice or sitting on the sidelines. Get excited. Be supportive. Show 'em how it's done.
You can't do everything. As much as you may want to, you can't make employees choose health. But you can allow your meeting attendees to see that pursuing good choices can be fun and rewarding. Tell your traveling employees that you haven't overlooked them and give them a healthy adventure that they will remember for a lifetime.
To learn more about how you can more effectively plan healthy meetings, conferences and events join us at the 11th Annual Pharma Forum 2015 - The Longest Running Event Where Life Sciences Meeting Managers Unite For Education, Collaboration & Innovation taking place March 22-25, 2015 in National Harbor, MD.