There are numerous reasons for being active at work including better overall health, better self-esteem, more energy and productivity, and better weight management.
Research highlights a link between an active workforce and cost saving outcomes, such as reduced absenteeism, reduced staff turnover, and improved productivity.
During their working day, staff should be encouraged to be as active as possible, and reduce their time being sedentary. Sitting at the computer or other sedentary behaviour for long periods of time and without a break, is associated with many long term conditions regardless of whether an individual is physically active or not.
Workplaces can encourage staff to:
- use the stairs rather than lifts, especially if the stairwells are accessible, well lit and clean
- stand up to stretch regularly and when taking phone calls
- stand during meetings and use standing tables where available
- walk to meetings in nearby buildings rather than taking a taxi where possible
- walk to colleagues instead of calling or emailing them where possible
- have five-minute activity breaks every hour during meetings
- complete chair based exercises
- avoid scheduling meetings over the lunch period (from noon to 2pm) to enable staff to be active
- participate in sports teams, lunchtime walking and jogging groups, and events such as Walk 2 Work Day and Bike to Work Day.
Create a walking poster with times to local spots like cafés etc - thanks to All Right?
This series of free resources from the Health Promotion Agency are for office workplaces wanting to encourage staff to sit less and move more. The tools and templates are designed to support people responsible for office workplace wellness to gain buy-in from senior management.
There are posters for workstations, meeting rooms and kitchen areas as well as stair challenges and other material to help implement a healthy culture.
Employers have an obligation to try to prevent and reduce work related harm amongst their staff, under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
This includes mental or physical ill health due to workplace stress.
Most people are aware that exercise and lifestyle changes can play a huge role in managing debilitating stress levels. Adopting an effective programme of exercise can therefore result in a win/win situation for both employees and the business they work for.
The Stress Management Exercise Association Endorsed Programme (SMEAEP) is provided by a variety of personal trainers, gyms and studios in New Zealand.