Picture this: You are sitting at your desk at 3pm and you realize you haven’t gotten up from your chair all day. You look around and see that you’ve been snacking instead of eating a lunch. You have read the same sentence 4 times and still can’t figure out what it means. Your back hurts, your eyes feel dry, and you feel kind of blah. You, my friend, are a victim of the sedentary lifestyle in America. How can we combat this lack of energy and inattentiveness in our workplace? By adopting healthy workplace initiatives, you will reap the benefits of a more engaged workforce and a healthier environment.
What’s the problem?
· The average worker sits 7.5 hours at a desk every day
· Add in couch time, sitting to eat meals, commute, and sleeping, and it could mean that the average adult is only active for 3 hours in a 24-hour period
· Prolonged sitting is directly related to higher risk of heart disease, weight gain, and diabetes
· Poor posture can lead to chronic health issues such as arthritis and bursitis
· Staring at computer screens for long amounts of time lead to higher instances of headaches and migraines
What’s the solution?
· Fitness challenges—Encourage different office-wide challenges to promote a more active lifestyle.
o Incentives for most consecutive gym check-ins
o Step contests using fitness trackers such as FitBit, Pebble, and AppleWatch
· Standing desks—Companies such as Varidesk make standing desks or sit/stand desks that lower and raise so that you vary your position during the day
o Burns more calories during the day
o Increases energy
o Some insurance companies will cover all or portion of the cost if they deem it “medically necessary.”
· Practice gratitude—keep a daily log of things to be thankful for that day
o Shown to ease depression, curb appetite, and enhance sleep
o Spirit of gratefulness leads to more sustainable happiness because it’s not based on immediate gratification, it’s more of a state of mind
· Get moving during the day—if your office doesn’t have sit/stand desks, schedule time to move each day
o Stretch time/desk yoga
o Computer programs to remind you to move such as “Move” for iOS and “Big Stretch Reminder” for Windows
· Extra happiness in the office—
o Add a plant
o Host a cooking class to encourage healthy meal plans
o Pet-friendly office days
By showing your employees that you care about their physical and mental health you are showing that you care about them as people and not just employees. This results in higher motivated staff who are healthier. The Harvard Business Review even says that “employers who invested in health and wellness initiatives saw $6 in healthcare savings for every $1 invested.” You cannot always measure ROI on personnel investment but it looks like for workplace wellness, you can! Now get moving and get your office moving!