Get a head start by promoting and rewarding healthy choices and tobacco-use cessation.
This week, kick off your holiday workplace wellbeing initiative with a celebration of the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout! The date is Thursday, Nov. 17.
The Great American Smokeout is a chance to offer encouragement to employees who are trying to quit smoking and reward everyone for healthy behavior. Plus, the American Cancer Society has lots of resources to help employers raise awareness about the benefits of quitting and spread the word about workplace wellbeing rewards.
Wish Your Employees a Happy (and Healthy!) Holiday Season
An office gym and educational posters used to be the extent of most companies’ workplace wellbeing program. But as healthcare costs have risen — and research shows a culture of workplace wellbeing leads to better engagement — more companies are taking a proactive approach. (Want an in-depth analysis? Read our post about the history and future of corporate wellness.)
Holiday parties and stress can lead us to overindulge in alcohol, binge on sweets, slack on exercise and smoke more. Stay one step ahead of employees by offering encouragement and options for positive, healthy alternatives.
Smoking in particular is a drain in the workplace. A Swedish study of more than 14,000 workers showed smokers have below-average work performance and productivity and tend to call in sick more.
The American Cancer Society identifies major benefits for creating a tobacco-free workplace and encouraging employees to quit.
The organization’s Great American Smokeout provides structure and resources for helping employees quit — and develop healthy habits in time to beat holiday stress. Check out the Smokeout Event Tools and Resources page for graphics of all types, including info in Spanish and communication designed for social media, plus toolkits geared toward specific audiences.
Workplace wellbeing expert Rebecca Weitzel writes for The Business Times:
“By helping employees conquer this addiction, you’ll not only give them a new lease on improved health and longer life, but also reduce the organizational and societal costs associated with tobacco use. It’s clear employers hold significant power in strengthening community efforts to triumph over tobacco.”
Read on for inspiration to jumpstart an effective workplace wellbeing campaign to motivate sustainable, healthy behaviors into the holidays and beyond — with rewards that employees will love!
How to Celebrate ‘The Great American Smokeout’ in the Workplace
At Emory University in 2014, staff received complimentary toothbrushes and toothpaste as part of the institution’s Great American Smokeout celebration, “So Fresh, So Clean” — to promote “a fresh start and clean lungs.”
Like any good celebration, Emory’s “So Fresh, So Clean” campaign was designed for all employees, not just smokers. Anyone could sign healthy-choice pledge cards, for example. Each card had space for employees to write down what smoking-related or unhealthy habit they would pledge to give up that day. This way, non-smokers could show their support for colleagues trying to quit. All pledge cards were entered into a drawing for free movie tickets.
Many pledges “included encouraging words to offer those trying to quit,” event coordinator and wellness specialist Curtis Williams told The Emory Wheel. “Our employees have been quite grateful for what we’re promoting and doing today.”
Here are more ideas for celebrating workplace wellbeing during the The Great American Smokeout:
1. Distract employees from their cravings
New non-smokers need a new way to fill the time they spent smoking. Encourage team or one-on-one walks, a lunch-hour dance-a-thon, or active games to keep everyone moving (and not thinking about smoking!).
2. Share success stories
Everyone loves an encouraging story of how someone overcame a bad habit. In the employee newsletter or on social media, feature employees who quit smoking in the past year or two.
3. Celebrate healthy eating
Smokers who are trying to quit often turn to food to fulfill an oral fixation. Encourage healthy snacking by serving fruit- and veggie-focused treats, handing out good on-the-go snacks like granola bars, bananas and water bottles, or inviting in a chef or nutritionist to teach their favorite healthy holiday meal recipes and share advice for holiday meal-planning.
4. Reward participation with gifts
Focus on meaningful gifts that actually promote healthy habits — tickets to a climbing gym, reusable water bottles, or gift certificates for fruits and veggies, for example. And be sure your gift is accompanied by gratitude. Quitting is hard. Let employees know how much you appreciate their commitment to healthier habits!
Transform Your Workplace with Gratitude
Gratitude is transformative in the workplace! Want to build a culture of gratitude in your workplace? Download gThankYou’s must-have free eBook, “Transform Your Workplace With Gratitude.” It’s full of practical learning that you can start putting to use today. Learn from positive psychology and leadership experts how to build (and sustain!) a workplace culture of gratitude that attracts employees and customers.
About gThankYou, LLC
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