As data suggests that 45 percent of women and 37 percent of men spend less than 30 minutes a day on their feet, keeping employees mobile is key to a healthy workforce.
In addition, recent research also found that 78 percent of office workers felt they spent too much time sitting down during the working day, and two thirds were worried that sitting at work was having a negative impact on their health. So what can employers do to help?
Jan Vickery, Head of Clinical Operations at AXA PPP healthcare, comments, “Heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancers and poor mental health have all been linked to sedentary behaviour, so it’s important that employers introduce easy ways for their staff to keep mobile to maintain a healthy workforce. Whether your employees work from home or in an office, employers can make small introductions into the workplace to help employees stay active.”
Here, Jan outlines her top tips to help small businesses keep their employees mobile at work, including:
- Walking meetings – Recent research has found that the act of walking leads to an increase in creative thinking, and there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence which suggests that walking meetings lead to more honest exchanges with employees and are more productive than traditional sit-down meetings.
- Taking regular breaks – Frequent short breaks are better than a few long ones, and they give muscles a chance to relax. Where possible, try to encourage employees to take regular breaks from their screens, such as getting a drink, going for some fresh air, filing or photocopying.
- Standing desks – A recent report by the NHS found that standing for more than two hours a day at work lowered the risks of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers.
- Ergonomic workstations – Sitting for too long can contribute to back and neck pain, so employers should introduce ergonomic workstations to help employees feel as comfortable as possible at their desks.
- Health benefits such as gym memberships – The obvious benefit of having a healthy workforce is that healthier employees are absent less often. Healthy workers are more motivated to stay in work, recover from sickness quicker and are at less risk of long-term illness. By promoting good health among workers and creating a positive environment for work, you could reduce employee turnover and recruitment costs. Benefits also include higher productivity and business performance as well as increased staff morale and employee engagement.
- Flu jabs – Seasonal flu is one of the biggest causes of short-term illness. It is highly contagious and can affect people of all ages, so offering flu vaccinations is a simple and cost-effective way to help keep your employees healthy.
For more tips and guidance on how to keep your workforce healthy, visit the small business centre here.