Workplace Wellness Policies

Posted on April 23rd, 2015 by Seth Nickinson

We haven’t written a lot about policy at Project ACT, because we believe action speaks louder than words. That said, setting some core policies is a great way to reinforce the personal behaviors and shared practices we are trying to adopt.

Start Here

Go through this simple and clear CDC Policy Checklist, and get some ideas. Then dive into the ideas below.

Activate My Meals – Policies

  1. Healthy Company Meals: Establish policies for any meals and celebrations the company or organization pays for, including catered events.
  2. Potlucks: Establish a “healthy potluck” policy
  3. Vending: If you aren’t going to remove vending machines, establish clear guidelines that your vendors must abide by regarding what’s in the machines. You can start with these CA Fit Business Kit “Healthy Vending Standards”.  Check out other example policies on our Healthy Vending post.
  4. Dining Facilities: Ensure on-site cafeterias follow healthy cooking practices and set nutritional standards for foods served that align with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Adopt the CA Department of Public Health “Healthy Dining Guidelines” for any on-site food service.


Activate My Workplace – Policies

  1. Breaks: Ensure your work sites are abiding by labor laws regarding breaks (30m lunch for every 5 hours; 10m break for every 4 hours worked), and preferably, go above and beyond those requirements. Encourage people to get up (and outside) and move around on their break.
  2. Meetings: Create a “healthy meeting policy.” You can start with the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity’s brand new Healthy Meeting Toolkit.  You can also use Network for a Healthy California “Healthy Meetings Policies” tip sheet. Healthy meetings include things like fresh fruit for snacks, water to drink, and including stretch breaks.

Activate My Health – Policies

  1. Screenings: Work with your health insurer to include preventative health screenings (e.g. onsite biometric screenings) as part of your health care plan
  2. Incentives: Provide cash incentives or reduced insurance costs for participation in physical activity and/or weight management or maintenance activities

Activate My Body – Policies

  1. Stretching: Make stretching mandatory at all staff meetings. Use this Kaiser Permanente Healthy Breaks flyer to guide you into stretch breaks. Our check out our post on workplace stretches.
  2. PTO for moving: Allow employees to use paid time off (PTO) for agreed upon physical activity (e.g. a charity walk or company hike)


Activate My Family – Policies

  1. Breastfeeding: Support nursing mothers, e.g. via safe space to express breast milk. Research shows that breastfeeding mothers and their babies are healthier and consequently parents miss fewer days of work because their babies are sick less often. Start with this CA Fit Business Kit “Breastfeeding-Friendly Worksite”