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Support Healthy Work Approaches

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4 icons representing health work styles: group having a meeting, trio stretching at their desk, balanced food circle, and woman riding a bike

As a manager, you have a lot of influence over the culture of your workgroup. Through your actions, you can foster a workplace culture that encourages health and wellness.

These tips represent a few ideas on cultivating wellness among your employees. While not all of these practices will be appropriate for your workgroup, we encourage you to use this list as a launching point. Take this list—or a modified version of it—to your employees to see what they would appreciate. Ask them which ideas would support their own personal goals, and solicit additional suggestions.

Involving your employees from the start will mean greater buy-in later as you work toward establishing practices that foster a healthy work environment.


Meeting Etiquette

  • Try not to schedule meetings during lunchtime. Also consider making 25 and 50 minutes the default meeting length to allow time for breaks. 
  • Encourage walking meetings.
  • Incorporate a stretch activity into your meetings to encourage movement, as needed. 
  • Take employees' schedules into account before setting meetings when possible. 
  • Reduce Zoom fatigue by allowing employees to turn off cameras during video conferencing or consider conducting occasional phone meetings. 

Recharge and Restore

  • Encourage employees to take lunch away from their workspace and mini-breaks throughout the day. Try not to implicitly or explicitly reward employees who never step away. 
  • Set up Slack reminders to encourage stretch or movement breaks throughout the day. 
  • Model self-care by taking breaks throughout the day, logging off emails during off-hours and unplugging during vacation/PTO.
  • Consider bringing a Healthy Living class to your team if your team members are struggling with a wellness-related issue (e.g., burnout, stress management, resiliency). To foster sustainable change as a result of the class, have team members set a goal based on class content.
  • Utilize Stanford's generous time off policies and Quarantine Pay to support your well-being.

Healthy Eating

  • Set up your environment to support your eating goals. Have foods like fresh fruit, veggie sticks, nuts and water visible and easily accessible—both at home and in the office.
  • Stay hydrated and alert by drinking plenty of water. Feelings of fatigue set in when you are less hydrated.
  • For catered meals in the office, be inclusive. Offer a variety of items so everyone can choose based on their taste preferences, customs and health goals. Typically, this means making sure there are plant-based options including vegetables and salads, whole grains, and fruits.
  • Support the health of your work community. This may mean sharing healthy eating strategies and recipes with co-workers, not leaving foods your co-workers are trying to avoid in the break rooms, and celebrating and rewarding members of your team with non-food options.

Stay Physically Active

  • Contact Stanford Recreation and Wellness to arrange a mobile fitness class for your department. Virtual personal training classes are also available for employees working from home.
  • Encourage employees to join a Healthy Living class to learn how to boost their physical activity levels in a safe and sustainable way. Classes are offered in-person and virtually so there are options that support employees’ various work arrangements. 
  • To encourage physical activity, allow employees plenty of time to change in and out of their exercise clothes.

Other Tips

  • Remember to stay home if you are feeling unwell. 
  • Encourage employees to use some of their STAP funds for Healthy Living classes or Multi-session coaching for wellness and nutrition. 
  • Well Time: Regular benefits-eligible employees may use up to eight hours per year of accrued sick time to participate in wellness activities approved through BeWell. 
  • See the BeWell website for more information.