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How to Nurture a Culture of Health and Wellness at the Workplace

By Chen Zhan


You’re worried about homeschooling the kids, you have a 9 AM meeting you haven’t finished preparing for, your emails keep pinging, and the boss wants to see you NOW. Let’s face it, work is stressful, but your workplace doesn’t have to be — even in the midst of a pandemic. With so many businesses operating amidst COVID-19, nurturing a culture of health, wellness, and coronavirus cleanliness is crucial.

Working in Portland gives you a head start. The city ranks as one of the country’s healthiest. Employee health programs are an excellent way to take wellness a step further.

Employee wellness programs are worth the investment: When co-workers feel their best, health care costs are ultimately lower. An ideal workplace health model includes access to fitness facilities, nutritious snacks, and insurance coverage that pays for preventative screenings.


How to Build a Culture of Health and Wellness

Here’s how to foster health and wellness at work — whether that workplace is at home, in an office building, or even in the great outdoors:


Working From Home


Working from home may be a temporary fix to keep us from spreading the coronavirus, or part of your normal routine. Creating a separate workspace keeps your professional life from flowing into everyday living.

Set up your home office near windows to get a daily dose of natural light. Lighting affects mood by boosting endorphins — the body’s way of coping with stress. If you don’t have a large window, buy a “happy lamp” to bring bright light to your workspace.

There’s no substitute for a routine deep-cleaning. But indoor plants bring fresh air to every room. Anthurium, English ivy, and aloe vera filter germs, dust, and airborne chemicals like formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and benzyne.

If you’re not glued to the desk, why not work while walking on a treadmill? Don a Bluetooth phone headset and place your laptop on the treadmill dashboard.

Dance to the bathroom. Simple yoga moves let you stretch and breathe during the workday.


At the Office


The rules for your home office also apply to the company office. Set your desk up with plants and the proper lighting so you can be more productive.

Sitting for hours in one place can be very tiring. Repetitive movements from typing on a keyboard may lead to carpal tunnel damage.

How can you combat sedentary workstyles? Move around, and get up.

Foot pedal cycles, wrist and ankle weights, balance boards, stretch bands, and ball chair exercisers are a few simple physical fitness products that can keep you moving in different directions when you’re sitting still at your desk.

Stand-up desks are a popular alternative for workspaces. Standing requires movement, increases blood circulation, and burns calories. Walking around the office is a productive way for employees to move their bodies and wake up!

Muscles need oxygen. Heading to the restroom, coffee pot, kitchen, water fountain, and running the stairs increase the flow of air to the brain.




Fresh air, light, and movement help oxygen flow to the brain. On warm weather days, working outside is a cool pick-me-up, especially when you’re among Portland’s fragrant plants and flowers.

If you’re in management, offer your employees a chance to create and work beside a flower garden (when it warms up). Bonus points: Planting the garden is a great team-building exercise!

A lunchtime yoga class while enjoying the sounds of nature is an excellent option in the spring and summer.


Establish Individual Health Goals

When it comes to health goals, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Prompting everyone to develop his or her own wellness plan gives team members the chance to control the outcome.

Start with baby-steps so as not to cause counter-productive stress. The ultimate goal is to nurture a culture of health and wellness at the workplace that spills over into the home front.

Keep your office healthy by keeping it clean. Get in touch with Cascade Building Services for janitorial and other commercial cleaning services in Portland. We use eco-friendly products to keep the planet healthy as well!

Chen Zhan began designing office spaces when he noticed the women he worked with donning sweaters, while the men continually turned the temperature down. He now consults with companies around the globe to improve company performance. Sometimes it’s as simple as adding some space heaters and standing desks.