Healthy Workplaces

Group of business workers stretching arms in relax time standing at the office.

Approximately 130 million full-time American workers spend over one-third of their day, five days per week engaged with their place of employment. [1,2] Due to the number of people reached and the amount time spent in these settings, creating healthy worksite programs, policies, and environments have the potential to positively impact workers’ health. [3,4]

Diet-related chronic diseases are among the health conditions that contribute to direct medical costs and lost productivity to U.S. employers, including heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes. [3] Worksite wellness programs primarily focus on improving health, increasing productivity, and reducing insurance costs. [4]

What about remote and hybrid workers?

The number of people physically located in their workplace has decreased substantially since the COVID-19 pandemic because more people are working from home. One survey from spring 2022 found that 58% of Americans reported having the opportunity to work from home at least one day a week; 35% reported having the option to work from home five days a week. [5] Nevertheless, effective workplace programs and policies utilizing a multidisciplinary approach can help reduce health risks and improve the quality of life for their employees. [3]

Worksite Wellness Programs

Worksite wellness programs have used a variety of mechanisms to promote health. Programs can be offered to the entire workplace, or specifically targeted to high-risk individuals.

Best practices for worksite wellness

  • Employers offer multifaceted nutrition and physical activity programs and initiatives. [2,4,6] Programs would include components such as:
    • Employee steering committees
    • Nutrition classes and seminars
    • Promotional and educational materials
    • Health risk assessments
    • Goal setting and lifestyle skills
    • Group exercise sessions
    • Signage to promote stair use
    • Increased availability of healthy foods and nutrition labeling in worksite cafeterias
  • Employers offer nutrition counseling to help individuals learn skills and gain support needed to improve eating and food preparation habits. Counseling includes self-monitoring, overcoming barriers to selecting healthy foods, goal setting, shopping and food preparation, and social support. [2,7]

Healthy Work Environments

Additional best practices for creating healthy eating and physical activity environments in the workplace

  • Utilize pricing and point-of-purchase strategies to promote healthier choices in cafeterias and vending machines. [8-15]
  • Development of healthy food and beverage procurement policies for cafeterias, vending machines, concessions stands, and/or for food provided at meetings, conferences and other organizational events. [2,8-10,16]
  • Create initiate incentive-based walking programs for employees. [8,9]
  • Initiate employee wellness programs that includes promoting use of stairs and walking trails, and targeting healthy eating. [8,9]


Last reviewed January 2022

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The contents of this website are for educational purposes and are not intended to offer personal medical advice. You should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The Nutrition Source does not recommend or endorse any products.