How businesses can support their employees kick unhealthy habits

Guest Blog by Juliet Hodges, Senior Behaviour Change Adviser at Bupa UK 

We’ve just passed the halfway mark of Stoptober and Sober October – two important campaigns where people give up smoking or stop drinking for a month.
While the first week or two may feel challenging, now is when people can start to struggle.


We know that it’s hard to kick a habit alone and employers can play a supporting role for their workforce.  Here are some of my top tips to help stay on track:
Go public

We like to be seen to act consistently, particularly in front of others. One way of doing this is telling people you’re doing a challenge. Encourage your employees to share their challenges with their team mates. As well as receiving invaluable support from their colleagues, this will make them more likely to keep going as they won’t want to lose face by backing out.


The idea of giving something up forever can be daunting. To kick a habit it’s important to celebrate the small milestones and encourage the person to keep going.
Now that we’ve passed the halfway point for Stoptober and Sober October, consider how you can celebrate your employees reaching this milestone and encourage them to continue to the end of the month.

Triggers in the workplace

Giving up smoking and cutting back on drinking involves changing lifestyle habits, especially if someone has had an addiction for years, or usually drinks a lot during the week.
People often have a cigarette at a particular time of the day, after completing a specific task, or accompanying a coffee or tea. It’s also common to socialise over a drink after work.  Encourage people to identify their triggers and look at ways that they could mitigate them.


Encourage people to share their progress and challenges with another employee.  Whether their buddy is taking part in the challenge or not, it gives them someone to turn to when they’re having a tough day or think they may give in to temptation. 

Also let them know that it’s ok if they slip-up, this doesn’t mean they can’t carry on again. Focus on their achievements and use this as a motivator to keep going.

Health MOTs

Bupa’s health assessments and follow up coaching calls provide people with the tools and personal support to make lifestyle changes that will improve their health, such as quitting smoking or cutting back on drinking alcohol.  

The health assessments give someone a snapshot of their health, and where needed, offer tips on how to make improvements. It includes two follow-up coaching calls to help keep someone on track and offer further advice on these goals.

Author: Editorial Team

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