How do you make vitality a priority in small organisations with full schedules? 🚨🗓️

Do you see large-scale cool vitality initiatives popping up everywhere but haven't seen this happening at your organisation yet? For small organisations, growth, and development are key. You, as an HR Manager, know how important vitality is for employees; however, it is not at the top of everyone's priority list.

Time to read: 5 minutes

How do you make vitality a priority in small organisations with full schedules? 🚨🗓️

At NewU, we see that HR managers of small organisations want to, but sometimes find it difficult to implement a vitality programme due to the management team's busy schedule or other priorities. Based on our experiences with 200+ small organisations, we share two lessons you can use to develop a vitality initiative that takes virtually no time at all.

You may have heard this before from a CEO during the pitch of your vitality initiative proposal: "I don't know if we have time for that at the moment...". In a small organisation, the priority list is full of 1001 things and, as a result, the allocation of time and money is looked at very critically. Even if your vitality initiative would not cost money, CEOs of small organisations see time as money. Currently, employees' working hours should be spent as productively and effectively as possible and cannot, in their eyes, be "lost" to a large-scale vitality initiative. Besides finances, time is one of the most precious assets for small organisations.

When you start presenting a vitality initiative to your colleagues, you may run into another problem: employees who find it difficult to give up their time to vitality. "Devoting an hour a week to vitality?! Then I already have 5 emails I can't finish... That just makes everything more stressful." It is difficult for several employees of small organisations to see that setting aside time for vitality is an investment in personal growth and productivity.

Micro exercises for mega effect 💪

If your vitality initiative requires little time, it will be well received by CEOs and employees. There are lots of ways of completing a long-term and short-term vitality initiative with short-term activities.

You can create different short-term initiatives with short workouts or micro-exercises on a daily workday, whether employees squat at the copy machine or walk to the toilet with some lunges. Any small or short exercise already makes a difference. For example, taking the stairs instead of the lift or doing a quick yoga stretch during a break can raise the heart rate and improve overall fitness. Short mindfulness exercises already provide opportunities for reflection and relaxation. With an app or a YouTube video, you can start or end the day with short breathing exercises. For example, kick off a meeting with a five-minute breathing exercise to lower stress levels. In addition, a shared lunch can start with taking turns describing your lunch. Mindful eating, by being extra aware of what you eat and sharing it with others, can make lunch more enjoyable and shift the relationship with food.

These small and short exercises can be turned into a large-scale vitality plan by turning them into a competition, for example. Who has done the most exercises at the coffee machine? For example, hang a note by the machine on which colleagues can keep track of their names and scores. Or hang a scoreboard in the corridor to keep track of who has taken the stairs instead of the lift the most time. You can attach a monthly winner or a prize to the competition.

You could also attach this idea to an individual or group prize, such as a staff outing. Once the whole team has chosen the stairs 1,000 times, you go bowling one evening or have an afternoon lunch in a park. This will encourage colleagues to motivate each other as well, and team spirit will be boosted as a result.

The secret power of vitality outside working hours 🕠

We'll share something fun with you; vitality initiatives also cost absolutely no money and no time at the workplace. From your position as HR manager, you can also organise a vitality initiative that is outside working hours at no cost to the employer. You may come up with some employees who you know already exercise in their spare time. Using your connecting powers, you can use a vitality initiative, such as a running challenge, to connect employees and encourage them to work on a challenge together. This can either be done individually or have them physically agree to do sporting activities together outside working hours. Consider starting an internal walking or cycling club or organising fitness challenges and exchanging recipes. For example, set up a regular schedule for joint walks or bike rides outside working hours.

A mentoring programme is a fun and easy way to pair active employees with enthusiastic colleagues who want more learning or support. This way, you make the initiative work from within and this creates connection within each team. This doesn't just have to be about physical sports activities but can also be in a mindfulness programme, for example. Imagine that one calm balanced colleague from the marketing department signs up as a mentor in the programme. They are paired with a colleague who has just started in the marketing department. Through the mentoring program, they can share knowledge on regulating stress, sleeping better, dealing with fretting, tips on good yoga workouts, and walks together during the lunch break. ar also fosters a positive work culture where employees support each other and grow.

Vitality initiatives are sometimes seen as a luxury for small organisations. However, as an HR Manager of a small organisation, you can make a big impact on the physical and mental health of your colleagues with creativity and small proposals.

Together with NewU, you can turn these small activities into a large-scale vitality plan without these initiatives taking much time. Schedule an appointment with one of us and let's have a digital cup of coffee soon.