With On Your Feet Britain taking place on the 28th April this year, this national activity awareness day where 2 MILLION desk-based workers across Britain participate in a variety of fun and simple activities to sit less and move more at work, hi-lights the benefits of being active at work.

According to the World Health Organisation, physical inactivity is responsible for six per cent of deaths globally and it is a risk factor for several health conditions including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, colon cancer, depression and anxiety.

Sedentary lifestyles due to jobs that require sitting for extended periods no doubt contribute to people being inactive or not finding enough time to exercise and as UK workers spend about 60% of their waking hours at work and given how our lives are usually organised around our jobs, employer initiative to promote employee physical health can make a huge difference.

How can we help employees become more active?

Build a work culture of being active

Encourage your staff to take short breaks to stretch and walk around the office. Make small changes to working styles like take the stairs instead of the elevator, hold standing meetings, opt walking over to a colleague’s desk or floor instead of sending an email or making a phone call.

Cycle or walk to work

Depending on the location of your job and how far you work from home, try switching up how you get to and from work. Leave the car at home and cycle or walk instead.

Take an active lunch break

Rather than eating your lunch at your computer while checking your smartphone and answering emails, take a break and do something physically active. You will go back to work feeling refreshed, revived, and more able to concentrate for the rest of the day.

Use sit-stand desks

Sit-stand desks are height-adjustable desks that allow users to alternate between sitting and standing at work. A recent study found that users of adjustable workstations reported improvement in upper back and neck pain and increased productivity.

Lead by example

It’s all well and good telling people to do something but it’s much better to show them. If you want a healthy lifestyle culture to run throughout a company then it’s much more likely to succeed if you take a top-down approach and management embraces fitness activities. This could be sharing your own physical health activities, goals, and challenges. It could also be making sure you participate in team challenges, too.

The benefits to employers

Not only will you as an employer see a difference in staff morale and well-being, other benefits of being active at work include:-

  • The annual cost to UK business of lack of physical activity is £6.6billion
  • Physically inactive individuals lose up to four and a half working days per year through absence and presenteeism, almost a whole working week, compared to active individuals.
  • Demonstrate corporate social responsibility by boosting morale and team spirit.
  • Reduce your CO2 footprint by supporting active travel to and from work.

For further information on the benefits of being active at work and any other health and safety issues, please contact us here.