Do your employees spend the majority of their workdays sitting at their desks in their cubicles?
If so, they could be on their way to suffering from some serious health conditions as a result of a sedentary lifestyle. This will also have some adverse and costly consequences for your company, including increased absenteeism due to illness; higher insurance costs; and increased turnover rates.
How inactive are office workers?
In her Washington Post article titled “Health experts have figured out how much time you should sit each day,” Brigid Schulte notes that the average office worker in the U.S. sits for about 10 hours. Add to that the time spent sitting in the car or subway on the commute, sitting at lunch and dinner, and sitting in front of the television or surfing the Internet at home, and it’s easy to see how our modern lifestyle simply doesn’t encourage activity.
The detrimental health effects of a sedentary lifestyle
Failing to be sufficiently active has a number of negative effects on your health. According to the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability in the article “Sedentary Lifestyle is Dangerous to Your Health,” sedentary people:
Activity recommendations for office workers
British researchers have now come up with formal guidelines as to how much activity office workers need. In the report “The sedentary office: a growing case for change towards better health and productivity,” Buckley et al. recommend initially spending two hours a day standing or performing light activity; then working toward four hours a day. They also recommend alternating seated work with standing or moving. Plus, when standing, workers should avoid standing in one posture for extended periods of time.
Creating a more active workplace
All of this is interesting information, but the fact of the matter is that your employees need to work on their computers pretty much all of the time. So how can you reduce the amount of hours they’re sitting?
Encouraging your employees to move more involves giving them both the permission and the opportunity to do so. And even though it’s likely to require some investment, the returns in term of reduced absenteeism, reduced insurance costs, and reduced turnover will be worthwhile.
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