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How to Support Your Leaders and Employees So They Can Feel Productive at Work but Still Have Fun at

by Kelly Ryan

People who want to work remotely, in the office, or in a combination (hybrid) are leaving their jobs for positions that suit them better. They may also be going out on their own. How do we support our leaders and employees in this new era?

When it comes to workplace wellness, people at all levels need to practise self-care, whether they are employees, owners, C-suite executives, or managers. Even the leaders—owners, executives, or managers—need to support themselves and one another.

If you want the best from your leaders and employees, you must support their health and wellness. The science is there to back this up. Forbes states, “Highly engaged teams show 21% greater profitability . . . teams who score in the top 20% in engagement realize a 41% reduction in absenteeism, and 59% less turnover."

I was recently speaking with someone at a local company who mentioned a nutritionist had provided a live talk and made recommendations such as putting healthier options in the lunch room. They put bananas and other snacks in the lunchroom and initially, they were eaten, but over time, people went back to their old ways; bananas turned black, and snacks weren’t eaten. They felt it had been a waste of money.

On the other hand, if employees and leaders are taking care of themselves, it’s good for the individual and the company.

How do you effectively support employee health so you don’t feel you’ve wasted money? Education is always beneficial, so having someone come and do a live talk is great, but you want to see that return on investment.

Start with what you’ve got.

If you are a solopreneur or have only a few employees, you are probably not going to create a full health and wellness program, but you can still start.

If you are a larger company, you probably have some supports in place, such as fun days or a medical and dental plan.

Look at where you are: look at your company vision and values, and build slowly from there.

Chat with your employees.

When I’m helping a company with its health and wellness program, the main areas I look at are nutrition, exercise, mindset/mental health, sleep, inclusion, and stress. Even if you’re a solopreneur, you can start with healthy living, becoming a high performer and inspiring employees when you get them.

Talk to your employees and see what they need. From there you can make a plan, create a culture of support, and build in rest and exercise. Maybe right now education is the biggest thing they need, or maybe they’re educated in health and wellness but need practical help like coaching, accountability, access to tools, or inspiration.

If you don’t feel like you are getting a true answer, get someone else to interview your staff to discover their needs.

You can also ask your staff if they would like an accountability buddy. Accountability makes an individual much more likely to succeed with health and habit changes. This is why athletes and top performers have coaches.

Get help.

Once you find out what your employees need, you can hire someone with expertise in that area. Don’t try to do it all on your own—you’re busy. An HR person who isn’t trained will take a lot of time they probably don’t have. Get help from professionals who can do it faster and more effectively.

Plan and make small changes.

Start implementing small changes and build on them over time.

If your employees need more exercise, maybe start walking meetings. Maybe make better food choices instead of croissants for morning meetings and pizza lunches (which not everyone appreciates and some could resent if they are trying to live healthier or have intolerances). Instead of going for drinks, take in a virtual yoga session.

Adding movement will not only help with health, but it will also help with clarity, productivity, focus, and energy!

The main thing is to find out what speaks to your employees, create a plan, and start making small habit changes. Look at your year: what would you like for your company and employees by the end of it? How can you schedule it? Look at what you can afford, and plan it strategically (some things won’t even cost you anything).

Look at the big picture.

Eventually, you will want a health and wellness plan, but you don’t need one right now. When you’re ready, you can get help with this, but for now, look at your vision and values, and when you decide on something, write it down and tweak it over time.

When you get bigger, you might offer gym rebates, but you can start right away without the big programs. Make sure your plan comes from a place of caring, and not just to check a box. Sometimes your own mindset and habit shift is the best place to start as a source of inspiration for your staff.

Kelly Ryan is on a mission to help leaders and employees level up their energy and wellness through health and wellness program audit and design, fun cooking demos, and health and wellness talks, so that they feel productive at work and have energy for fun at home.

She is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Certified Culinary Nutrition Expert, and Certified Virtual Coach helping tech companies level up their health and wellness through a fun and practical approach.

Kelly also graduated from Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa Culinary Arts Institute, previously owned her own restaurant in her hometown of St. John’s, Newfoundland, and has a background in policy and auditing.

When Kelly is not hosting live talks and cooking classes or helping with corporate wellness plans, she is spending time hiking, camping, or playing video games with her husband and two awesome kiddos.

Nerd Mom Nutrition

Contact Kelly Ryan, 709-764-4383,

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