By Emily Suess

From lower health care costs to improved morale, there are plenty of reasons to strive for a healthier workplace. Are you looking for ways to build a healthier office? Try these seven steps to get you and your employees on the path to a healthier lifestyle by emphasizing the importance of good health at the office.

Step 1: Let in lots of natural light.

Natural light is essential for employee productivity, but it also helps protect vision—especially for those employees prone to eye strain due to the nature of their jobs.

Install windows and skylights if you have the option. For internal offices without windows, install quality artificial lighting. Hold meetings and brainstorming sessions outdoors or in a common area with lots of natural light whenever possible.

Step 2: Add treadmill desks.

With a laptop and a phone extension, employees can work and exercise at the same time without breaking a sweat. Thirty minutes strolling at a leisurely place comes with plenty of health benefits.

You don’t have to break the bank and buy a treadmill desk for every employee in your business. One or two desks can be shared. Just create a calendar so employees can easily see when the treadmill desk is available for use.

Step 3: Bring in indoor plants.

Adding a little greenery to your work space can improve your mood, but be sure to opt for indoor plants that don’t need special care or attention beyond occasional watering. Watching plants die might not have a soothing effect on you or your staff.

Step 4: Offer healthy snacks for employees.

Keep healthy snacks on hand in the break room to refuel during the day. Fruits, veggies, and nuts can keep energy up during the busy day. Vending machine junk food might give you a quick burst of energy, but watch out for the crash that follows!

Step 5: Encourage employees that sit all day to take frequent breaks.

Get up every hour or so and get your body moving. Take a phone call standing up, walk to a co-worker’s desk to ask a question, do a lap around the office to see if your co-workers need anything from you—just do what you can to keep yourself from sitting still for 8 hours a day. Experts say desk jockeys are more likely to have health problems, including heart disease.

Step 6: Install bike racks.

Biking to and from work is another way to make your office healthier, but you’ll need a place for employees to lock up their bikes while at work. If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can coordinate annual or monthly bike-to-work days.

Step 7: Partner with fitness and recreation organizations.

Connect with a local gym or recreation facility to negotiate membership discounts, organize classes, or start a recreational league for employees and their families. A healthy life outside of work means a healthy life inside the workplace.

Has your office benefited from making healthy changes? What changes have had the biggest impact for your small business?