David Price, wellbeing expert and CEO of Health Assured, gives his tips on making the most of the office environment to improve health and boost energy levels.
There is no escaping the fact that the majority of our time in the office is spent sitting at our desks. This lengthy level of sedentary behaviour can have serious downsides to our health and has been associated with various physical and mental conditions including obesity and depression. In fact, the World Health Organisation identified “inactivity” as the fourth leading cause of death, with an estimated 3.2 million losing their lives globally to the effects of sedentary lifestyles and research published today by Public Health England stated that that 41% of 40-60 years old do not manage to do a brisk 10 minute walk a month.
With this in mind, here are four ways that businesses can address this problem in their workforce and lead the charge in creating a workplace that values and supports employees’ health and wellbeing
- Get on your feet
While technology has simplified many workplace processes, it is also responsible for making us remain in our seats for too long. Staff can read emails, take part in several business calls and join in on a team discussion, all without leaving their seat. To change this kind of behaviour, it’s important to encourage staff to get on their feet. You can do this by promoting initiatives such as taking the stairs instead of the lift and encouraging staff to walk over to colleagues to discuss work-related issues instead of emailing them. Getting staff to drop bad habits and be more active in their menial office tasks is also a way to promote regular movement. For example, by removing bins from under desks, repositioning drinks dispensers and placing printers away from nearby workstations, staff will inevitably have to move.
- Standing and working meetings
Another way to get staff on their feet is to hold standing and walking meetings. It might take a while for some people to adjust to this new method, but it can positively alter the tone of the meetings, keeping them short and to the point. Walking meetings are ideal for smaller groups of around two to three people, and can have a great impact on the amount of time staff spends actively during the day.
- Encourage staff to take lunch and breaks away from their desk
Good food practice makes a big difference to your working day as eating at regular intervals helps to combat stress and depression. Not only does your brains need rest to perform at its best, but by encouraging people to make an effort to leave their desks and have a proper lunch they will both get moving and it will help encourage mindful eating
- Sit-stand desk solutions
Sit-stand desks can be effective in reducing the amount of time your staff sit down and are no longer the obscure recommendation they used to be however they can be costly. But even if your workplace can offer a regular sit-down desk only, chances are you may have electronic devices such as a laptop or tablet that can be used to migrate to a different working area. Finding a table top that’s the right height can be tricky, but if you have one if your workplace it can break up the day and a mixture of sitting and standing can easily become a reality.
So get moving to reduce sedentary behaviour in your workplace!
David Price is a wellbeing expert and CEO of Health Assured.
This article was first published in HI Daily. You can view the original story here.