Additional Resources

Help your employer realize how it can make its employees slim by design. Below are some sample letters you can email to your boss or to human resources.
Sample Letter to Send to Your Company's Health and Wellness Director
Dear [name], I appreciate what you and your staff have been doing to try and make all of us employees think twice about our health and wellness and begin moving in a healthy direction. It’s not only helps make us happier and healthier, but it’s also good for retention. One habit that a number of my coworkers and I have is that we tend to eat at our desks. Although I’d like to think it’s because we’re super hard, dedicated workers, it probably has something to do with the lack of more attractive options, such as brown bag lunch presentations, outings, or team lunches, and the break room could use a serious makeover for those of us to bring our lunches. Also, the cafeteria could make a lot of changes–rearranging the placement of foods, promoting healthy convenience combo-lunches, and so forth–that could make them more money and would make us healthier. The reason I mention this is there are a lot of easy changes that you, as our company’s Health and Wellness Director, might do to make it easier for us to start improving our health–beginning here at work. Ideas such as a multi-activity wellness plan or a Health Conduct Code would be great ways to start. The book Slim by Design by Brian Wansink offers many other ways you could profitably make it easier for the company to help us become healthier. Thanks for taking the time to consider how you could make small changes to help make us healthier and happier. I look forward to visiting you again soon. Let me know if you would like to discuss this further, and let me know how I can help you. Sincerely, [your name]
Sample Letter to Send to Your Boss or Company's CEO
Dear [name], I appreciate what you and the Wellness Director have been doing to try and make all of us employees think twice about our health and wellness and begin moving in a healthy direction. It’s not only helps make us happier and healthier, but it’s also good for retention. One habit that a number of my coworkers and I have is that we tend to eat at our desks. Although I’d like to think it’s because we’re super hard, dedicated workers, it probably also has something to do with the lack of more attractive options, such as brown bag lunch presentations, outings, or team lunches, and the break room could use a serious makeover for those of us to bring our lunches. Also, the cafeteria could make a lot of changes – rearranging foods and promoting healthy convenience combo-lunches, and so forth – that could make them more money and would make us healthier. The reason I mention this is there are a lot of easy changes that you and company’s Health and Wellness Director might do to make it easier for us to start improving our health – beginning here at work. Ideas such as a multi-activity wellness plan or a Health Conduct Code would be great ways to start. The book Slim by Design by Brian Wansink offers many other ways you could profitably make it easier for the company to help us become healthier. Thanks for taking the time to consider how you could make small changes to help make us healthier and happier. I look forward to visiting you again soon. Let me know if you would like to discuss this further, and let me know how I can help you. Sincerely, [your name]
What if Your Boss Was Paid to Make You Healthier?
The following is an excerpt from the research paper “The 10% solution: Tying managerial salaries to workplace wellness efforts” written by Rebecca Robbins, M.S. and Brian Wansink, Ph.D. It is published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology. Suppose your boss’s job description stated that 10 percent of her pay raise or promotion depended on what she had done this past year to try to improve your health. Things would quickly change–break rooms, cafeterias, and facility rooms would be improved to nudge you to eat a little better and move a little more. Big transformations don’t happen until people are rewarded for wellness. Imagine what would happen if your boss–along with other managers in your company–were graded and promoted partly on how she tried to help make you healthier. Again, healthy employees are good for business–fewer sick days, fewer medications, and fewer heart attacks. Yet if only 10 percent of your manager’s annual evaluation was based on what she did last year to help improve the health of his direct report employees, like you, it would be okay–not weird–for you to sit on a highway cone-orange exercise ball chair instead of a black office chair. One-on-one walking meetings would become normal, and desktop lunches might start to look anti-social. You might be thanked when you bring in fruit for your birthday but given the stink eye if you brought two dozen donuts or 5 pounds of bagels. This is radical thinking. That’s why it’s surprising that so many managers are in favor of it. Again, we found that most managers thought that having this health clause in their contracts would clearly incentivize them to make their employees more happy, productive, and cooperative (Robbins and Wansink 2014). They also liked how most of the changes would be quick and easy to implement — they didn’t have to do anything drastic like install a company Jai-Alai court or polo field. We also asked them if they would rather work for Acme Corporation, which did not have 10 percent of their evaluation tied to wellness, or Shangri-La Corporation, which did. Sixty-four percent wanted to work for Shangri-La. They said they believed it would be a more dynamic, progressive industry leader, with room for more advancement. Every company talks about health and wellness, but really they’re either committed to it or they aren’t. If they’re committed, they need to visualize what this new company looks like–it’s can’t just have a walking trail, a diabetes brochure, or fruit cups in the cafeteria. There’s an expression in business that you motivate what you measure. If your boss measures how many insurance policies you sell, how many widgets you make, or how long you spend at their desk, that’s what you focus on. If they don’t measure it, you don’t take it quite as seriously. What if we measured how hard our company worked to make us healthier? A Scorecard can be an effective way to see how they measure up. This Slim by Design Scorecard has 100 points and we use it when working with companies to help make their employees healthier. A shorter 10-point version scorecard can also be one of the quick assessments Just like the scorecards for supermarkets and restaurants, it will show your boss or your wellness director how their company stacks up, and what they can specifically do to show leadership in wellness. It will give them some specific changes they can make right away, and it also lets them know someone really cares and might be measuring them. That’s motivating.
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