More than ever, it is so important to be keeping healthy at work: the risks of physical inactivity threaten not only the health of your staff, but of your business too. John Hopkins Medicine highlights that a sedentary lifestyle, often catalysed by an inactive job, can increase the risks of developing high blood pressure, heart disease and type 2 diabetes, while also contributing towards mental health problems. It’s not all negative though: implementing small changes within your workplace, from fitout to office perks, can boost employee wellbeing, productivity and efficiency through ensuring staff are alert and energised. Keep reading for our top tips to ensure your office is the ideal space for staying healthy at work.
- Offer staff the choice of standing desks
The benefits of standing desks are often debated, but when it comes down to it, standing burns more calories than sitting, improves posture and boosts circulation while sharpening alertness. Desks which transition between sitting and standing allow your staff the chance to decide what works best for them and their health on any given day.
- Encourage walking meetings
Some meetings require laptops, presentations and your boardroom’s AV technology – others are more informal chats between staff. When you’re engaging in the latter, why not suggest a walking meeting? Studies show you’re more productive and creative when you’re active, so this is especially effective for brainstorming ideas between staff.
- Provide healthy snacks or food options
A big container of mixed nuts or a weekly fruit order to the office is the perfect way to give your staff better food options than what they might grab from the convenience store next door. Depending on your budget, you could even go so far as to provide healthy breakfast options like muesli or porridge, since more than half of Australians are skipping breakfast due to time constraints in the mornings.
- Encourage staff to get away from their desks at lunchtime
More concerning than statistics on skipping breakfast, studies show that around 75% of us are skipping our meal break – a lose-lose situation for productivity as a lunch break is vital for recharging brain capacity, improving physical health and managing stress.
- Join in on activity-based fundraising and charity events
Offices are always looking for more ways to improve their philanthropic pursuits, and what better way than a fun run or exercise charity event? In Sydney, the city2surf, Sydney Morning Herald Sun Run and the Run2Cure are 3 of many energetic options to get involved with the community and improve employee wellbeing.
- Provide shower and change facilities at work
A shower at work doesn’t seem like a big deal when you’re planning the office fit out, but it allows your staff the choice of cycling in to work or using part of their lunch break to work out in a park nearby.
- Corporate yoga!
Yoga not only constitutes exercise, but mindfulness and awareness which improve mental health and efficiency. Why not try getting an instructor in once a month for a team yoga session to support wellbeing – plus, it’s a team bonding experience!
- Take calls on the go
If you’re having a half-hour phone call to discuss something with a colleague or client, why not be moving the whole time? Try to divert calls to your mobile so you can get up and move while you chat.
- Set up an area with a few exercise desks
This one might not work for everyone, but treadmill or stationary bicycle desks are a new phenomenon that, if used correctly, can have a huge impact on your health. The aim is not to run and work – rather, setting the treadmill at 2-4km per hour, at a slow walk, to keep you moving but at a pace which is workable, can be the perfect solution when staff need to get up and away from their desks.
- Encourage staff to wear comfortable clothes and shoes
Does your office have a high heel policy? Are the men expected to wear stiff, hot suits? Relaxing your clothing policies a little can have a huge impact on whether staff get the bus from the train station or walk, whether they take the stairs or the lift and how far they’ll get from their desks at lunch.
Staying healthy at work is easy enough with a few small tweaks to your office space or policies – and healthier staff are more efficient staff, so everyone wins.