The demands of a desk job can keep your workers seated for hours each day. And while they may be delivering on their duties, they could also be damaging their health.
Research shows that long periods of sitting can slow metabolism, contribute to the onset of type 2 diabetes and increase the odds of developing cardiovascular disease and breast, prostate and lung cancer. The World Health Organisation also reports that inactivity is the fourth biggest health issue for adults, accounting for 9% of premature deaths.
Motivating your team to move more at work helps boost wellness – and it’s also beneficial for your business, improving motivation and productivity and reducing the risk of job-related health issues.
Here are ten ways to bring fitness and fun to your daily nine-to-five:
A workplace health programme
Introducing a workplace health programme – consisting of health counselling, weight management advice and exercise guidance – can make positive lifestyle changes a group goal. Encourage employees to team up, follow shared fitness plans and celebrate colleague successes.
Active lunch breaks
Many staff stick to their desks during lunch, either working, chatting or surfing the internet. Motivate your team to take a break from their workstations – walking around the building, out to the local shops or even up and down the stairs to get the blood pumping!
Standing or walking meetings
Stand-up meetings can benefit employee health and increase efficiency by keeping conversations productive and to the point. Go one better by walking while you talk, breathing fresh air, reducing tensions and igniting creative ideas.
Cycle to Work scheme
Introduced in 1999, the Cycle to Work scheme allows employers to buy bikes and lease them to their workers. Businesses then recover the cost of the bike through a salary sacrifice scheme, which means employees save on tax contributions.
Cycling is a brilliant way to get moving, especially as part of a daily commute. Studies have even shown that cycling regularly can cut instances of heart disease by 46%.
Running clubs promote group exercise, which can be key to keeping the whole team on board. Training together for a local fun run is a great combination of staying active and socialising in support of a common goal. The popular NHS Couch to 5K programme is perfect for ‘non-runners’ who want to start small and build stamina.
Stand-up desk options
As an alternative to traditional office arrangements, stand-up desks offer employees an option to leave their chairs and work upright for a few hours. The adjustable desks move up and down by the click of a button to accommodate different heights.
For those who prefer classes and equipment, try negotiating corporate discounts at your local gym. Plenty of centres offer half-hour classes around lunchtime, which is the perfect way to build some fun physical activity into your day.
The trend for smart watches, like Fitbits, has created an awareness of the number of steps people are walking in a day, with many setting personal targets to increase their count. Lunchtime walking groups help your team recharge, reconnect and reach their recommended 10,000.
Replace the usual Friday night routine with an altogether different after-work activity. Rather than heading to your local, why not catch up over a round of crazy golf or roller skating?
Create a wellness committee
Get volunteers to gather ideas on keeping employees active in the workplace. These helpers may be better tuned into staff attitudes and perfectly placed to shape your wellness strategy.
As the connection between good physical and mental health becomes more well known, employers are waking up to the benefits of workforce wellness. Getting your staff moving is simpler than you think. Let us know what works for you.