Hear from a Peer: How Administrative Professionals Make Work a Healthier Place

October 18, 2017

Helping your co-workers stay healthy probably isn’t a part of your job description. But as the go-to for office purchases and workplace programs, your actions can have a direct impact on the mental and physical well-being of your colleagues.

We asked members of the Staples Business Advantage InsidersNetwork to tell us: What are a few of the things you do to contribute to a healthy workplace?

Julianne, business administrative assistant: “I work for a nonprofit that provides counseling services, and the days can be very stressful for the staff. One of the first things I did when I started working here was go to a second-hand store to buy mugs and reached out to tea manufacturers for donations of stress-relieving teas. I put different kinds of tea in the mugs and tied on an inspirational quote to them. I left the mugs on people’s desks while they weren’t there, and it was a nice surprise for them.”

To help the staff counselors feel cared for and supported, Julianne also arranges monthly yoga classes and keeps a drawer stocked with protein bars for days when they don’t have time for lunch. But the biggest hit? “A pet therapist I know comes in every couple of months with her wonderful Goldendoodle,” Julianne says. “The staff loves having the dog around.”

We asked members of the Staples Business Advantage InsidersNetwork:   
Health screenings are by far the most common wellness initiative: More than a third of the respondents to a Staples poll said their employer uses this tactic. 

Susan, office manager: “When we moved our office location, I switched out all the chairs to posturepedic ones. I have back problems myself, so thought this could be a healthy alternative. I don’t think everyone was on board at first — but since we’ve had them, everyone has come up to me to say that they enjoy them.”

After her office move, Susan also checked in with a nearby gym and yoga studio for information she could share with her colleagues. “I put together a paper with their schedules and the different rates,” she says. “That made it easier for people to find classes that they were interested in that worked with their schedules.”

Heather, pharmacy manager: “I try to do something special on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to keep the team motivated. For example, I send what I call a ‘Motivational Monday’ email, which might be an inspirational quote or a picture I've found online. On Wednesdays, I’ll go to the dollar store and buy things to give out — for example, I’ve bought bags of animal crackers for the team and written notes that say, ‘This place would be a zoo without you.’ On Fridays, I’ll send out a fun fact to end the week.”

Heather acknowledges that it’s easy to offer these pick-me-ups because she her team is small. “Even in a bigger place, though, you could probably do things like this once a month,” she says.  

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