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Culture of Health: Easy action steps

The University of Missouri System supports wellness among faculty, staff, retirees, and their families through many different programs. Our Culture of Health program forms our guiding principles. The Culture of Health focuses on five priority areas. Choose the ones that are right for you from among this list, or decide on others that suit you better. It's all about choice and finding your own path to wellness.

Be active

Physical activity and movement is encouraged and supported during the workday. Here are some easy action steps:

See what university colleagues do to

be active!

  • Walk or bike to work 3 times/week
  • Take a coworker on a walk
  • Go on a short walk at lunch
  • Participate in lunch time physical activity classes
  • Park an extra block away from the office or grocery store
  • Keep exercise equipment in the office (e.g., weights, yoga mats)
  • Dedicate 5-10 minutes each day to practicing yoga/office stretches
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible
  • Use small weights or perform leg or arm exercises for 10 minutes
  • Track your physical activity using a pedometer or odometer
  • Use a walking trail on your campus found on the Healthy for Life website (below)
  • Take a break at 10:00AM and 3:00PM to do some stretches
  • Encourage employees to take lunch time walks or participate in physical activities
  • Engage your department in a walking/pedometer step challenge or other organized activity
  • Encourage co-workers to stand or walk while they are on the phone
  • Encourage co-workers to take micro breaks (30 seconds to 5 minutes) during the day to move and stretch
  • Change one meeting a week to a walking meeting and encourage co-workers to do the same
  • Initiate groups that participate in physical activity during the weekday (e.g., a walking group)

Discounts and resources for being active …

Eat well

Healthy food options, programs, and resources should be available to support employees in eating well. Here are some easy action steps:

See what university colleagues do to

eat well!

  • Drink 64 oz. of water daily
  • Eat breakfast every day
  • Ask for healthy snacks at meetings
  • Eat lunch away from the computer
  • Put away the candy bowl
  • Obtain sufficient refrigeration space for all employees
  • Organize healthy potluck meals at work
  • Create a bulletin board or shared folder to share healthy recipes with co-workers
  • Ask meeting and event planners to have healthier snacks or meals
  • Replace clear candy jars with opaque covered containers
  • Choose healthier foods/snacks in vending machines and encourage others to do the same
  • Make fresh drinking water available with a water cooler or water filter on at least one faucet
  • Encourage employees to bring reusable drinking cups/bottles instead of using disposable water bottles
  • Find a space that can serve as a breakroom where employees can have lunch away from computers
  • Bring in healthy snacks like nuts, fruit, carrot sticks, hummus, etc. and encourage others to do the same
  • Develop a shared cleaning schedule for your break area if cleaning services are not provided
  • Put a fresh fruit bowl in the break area, and encourage others to add to it or contribute money to purchase new food regularly
  • Assess your hunger level before eating
  • Use non-food items as rewards at meetings like gift cards, flowers or balloons
  • Ask for healthy foods/snacks in vending machines
  • Become familiar with healthy food options and resources from campus dining services:
  • Visit local farmers market and buy local and organic food
  • Try a new vegetable or fruit this week
  • Share a healthy recipe with a coworker
  • Get the latest scientific information about nutrition on Nutrition Source Website
  • Limit sugar and fast food
  • Plan healthy weekly menu
  • Bring in a healthy lunch 3 times this week

Discounts and resources for eating well …

Work-life fit

Work-life fit programs and resources support all aspects of our lives (work, family, and community). Here are some easy action steps:

See what university colleagues do to

find a work-life fit!

  • Plan out your daily exercise in advance
  • Schedule “my time” during the week
  • Talk with others about expectations
  • Plan out your weekly schedule and include time for family or friends
  • Designate a private space as a lactation room for nursing mothers
  • Include designated relaxation time in your schedule
  • Meditate; you can use our free meditation audio recordings
  • Schedule one thing you look forward to each day
  • Manage and prevent stress; find resources and support from the Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
  • Create a backup plan in advance for when emergencies happen (e.g., snow day, child getting sick)
  • Take notice of activities that have minimal value and cut them out of your schedule
  • Organize an occupational stress workshop for your colleagues/direct reports; find workshops from EAP
  • Flexible work arrangements are available for you and/or your employees. Use our resources on flexible work arrangements
  • Understand the leave time you have earned. Learn more about the leave you may accumulate.
  • Suggest and encourage flexible working schedules. For example, allow individualized start and end times, schedule a reduced lunch time so that an employee may leave ealier (or start later), allow employees to work from home, or provide release time to allow employees to participate in Healthy for Life programs
  • Encourage employees to participate in one of the ongoing Healthy for Life meditation or yoga classes
  • Proved dedicated space that is quiet where employees can engage in meditation, yoga, or other relaxation activities
  • Organize a 30-minute before work or lunch time meditation or yoga practice for your department. Find a quiet room for employees to comfortably sit. A person can guide the meditation, or you may us one of the recordings from the Mindfulness Practice Center website
  • Encourage employees to take mini mindfulness breaks at their desk throughout the day. The 3-minute breathing space is a great example of a mindfulness break.
  • Provide time for employees to learn more about work-life balance/life-skills through EAP, HR myLearn Resources, and Healthy for Life programs
  • Have regular meetings with employees to determine ways to reduce stress at work
  • Acknowledge and encourage the variety of dimensions and life situations that exist in your employee population

Discounts and resources for work-life fit …

Work healthy

Ergonomics and technology are encouraged and supported to help us move, be healthy, and do our jobs better. Here are some easy action steps:

See what university colleagues do to

work healthy!

  • Take a 1-5 minute micro-breaks every hour to move, stretch, walk and breathe
  • Use a walking or standing work station
  • Adjust your chair to support your posture
  • Stand up while talking on the phone
  • Use the restroom on a different floor and take the stairs
  • Deliver information in person rather than through email
  • Center your keyboard in front of your monitor
  • Sit on a ball at your desk
  • Adjust the lighting in your office
  • Be more aware of your posture at your desk (focus on keeping your feet flat on the floor and your elbows, hips, knees, and ankles at 90ᵒ)
  • Visit myLearn and watch the Healthy for Life ergonomic video for tips and guidance on workplace ergonomics
  • Contact your campus Environmental Health and Safety offices or websites for assessments or information on how to construct an ergonomically sound workplace for various workstations
  • Visit the Adaptive Computing Technology website to request a free workstation analysis for employees on the MU campus. All other campus employees may review Do-it-Yourself Workstation Ergonomics for tips and guidance to evaluate your workstation
  • Remind co-workers to use good posture while sitting and working at a desk by posting information about good posture in public spaces
  • Provide information to co-workers on how to utilize proper lighting for various tasks
  • Encourage the use of adjustable chairs or balls to sit on and provide information about appropriate seating

Discounts and resources for working healthy …

Empower and appreciate

Feeling empowered and appreciated by colleagues and the organization is important to the university. Here are some easy action steps:

See what university colleagues do to

empower and appreciate!

  • Send a thank you note
  • Nominate coworker for an award
  • Explain the reasoning behind task delegation
  • Listen to your coworkers' suggestions
  • Say “great job” to a hard-working coworker
  • Say “thank you” if another employee helps you
  • Have a positive and enthusiastic attitude
  • Learn something new about each of your co-workers
  • Remind a co-worker that you appreciate their hard work
  • Help support your coworkers’ efforts to be well; consider becoming a Wellness Ambassador
  • Take the time to say “good morning” to everyone in the office
  • Send note to your superior complimenting a coworker
  • Read book to enhance job skills; many free books are available from the university’s myLearn portal, which you can access through myHR
  • Allow time off for a variety of religous holidays and celebrations
  • Encourage others to create an environment of appreciation and gratitutde by saying "thank you" and recognizing work well done
  • Encourage co-workers to visit the HR myLearn website for professional development opportunities and use other resources to participate in professional development
  • Host a lunch time or post work celebration for holidays or to acknowledge departments achievements
  • Encourage co-workers to greet everyone in a friendly manner in the workplace every morning
  • Post informatino about how to nominate co-workers for organizational or department awards
  • Talk to leadership in your department about ways to let co-workers give suggestions for improving the workplace and how to implement them as appropriate
  • Encourage leadership to communicate the rationale for task delegation and explain the reasoning behind processes
  • Have panel discussions or invite speakers to discuss isues of cultural and racial diversity with the entire department
  • Encourage recruitment of racially and culturally diverse individuals
  • Explore specific ways to improve diversity and inclusion on your campus or in your community
  • Find specific ways to give back with community service opportunities in your area

Reviewed March 09, 2017.