How to improve your employee health and wellbeing is a topic senior leaders are now discussing. Once crucial factor set to play a considerable part in employee wellbeing is the increasing amount of time today’s workforce spend sitting down. Sitting for long periods of time isn’t good for us.

In spite of these new dynamic and more productive work settings, according to the Get Britain Standing Campaign the reality is the average person spends 8.9 hours a day sitting.

There is considerable compelling research that suggests sitting for more than 4 hours a day can result in the following:

  • Enzymes responsible for burning harmful blood fats shutting down
  • Reduced burning of calories (Metabolic rate)
  • Disrupted blood sugar levels
  • Increased insulin and blood pressure levels
  • Joint problems

Doesn’t sound good, does it? So what can organisations and managers practically do to help improve their employee’s wellbeing?

 

Get Employees Moving

Like many people reading this, you and your team might have a number of days when you go way over the 4 hours referred to above. What can you do to get everyone moving more?

1. Many companies are now introducing sit-standing desks. While it can take some getting used to
it works. It’s recommended you build up the time you stand over a period of months. I have one; My top tip is buy an accompanying floor mat to stand on as it cushions the pressure on your joints.

2. Stand during phone call;, not only is this good for you physically, it allows you to use your non-verbal body language far more effectively than when sitting down at a desk.

3. There are a variety of productivity strategies that advocate working in blocks of time and then taking a short break. Tony Schwarz President of the Energy Project recommends blocks of 90
minutes with a break. This is based on work by a sleep researcher.

During breaks, employees can take a walk around the office, head to the stairs and increase steps on their Fitbit, or do some stretching and desk exercises.

4. Sometimes it’s as simple as standing up and walking across the office to a colleague and having a 5 minute conversation instead of picking up the phone or sending another email.

 

Working On The Move

While many of us are so familiar with working from an office, it doesn’t mean to say it always has to be this way. With the technology we have at our fingertips, employees can work from almost anywhere and at any time of day, so why not offer flexible ways of working.

 

Get Fit Going To Work

It really doesn’t matter if you get to work by car, bus, train, tube or plane, the fact is they can all be stressful at times. 45% of workers complain that they have a stressful journey to the office, according to the British Council for Offices.

Where possible, encourage your team members to walk to work or walk part of the way. You could also install cycle racks and provide access to shower facilities.

How about Get Fit At Work; Do you have a gym or offer corporate gym membership? How many staff use it? What incentives can you offer to encourage employees to use this facility?

What About Volume And Light?

While many offices are quiet and conducive to creative work, it isn’t always the case. The constant ringing of phones, multiple conversations, people hopping on and off hot desks and general background noise all contribute towards creating a distracting environment. This can create unhappy and frustrated employees whose productivity may suffer because they are being disturbed.

These issues can easily be addressed by how an office is designed and how the space is used. Use surfaces, carpet and furniture that absorbs sound rather than promotes it.

Bring the great outdoors into the office. World Green Building Council research suggests employees who have an outside view can be up to 25% more productive, and process calls 12% faster. Find ways to introduce more natural light or improve the lighting you have.

Whatever support and wellbeing initiatives your company do (or don’t) currently make available, this is another example of where leaders need to step up and show the way. If your team see that you are making time to get moving, taking a break at lunchtimes and showing an interest in them doing the same, they are more likely to follow by your example. For more ideas check out this website.

With more than 30 years of experience as a global leadership and communication skills organisation, Excel Communication can help you make the most of your team with wellbeing, training and development solutions. We have experts that can deliver programmes across four continents in various languages. Get in touch today on +44 (0) 1628 488 854.

 

Until next time,

Rachel