Time is money. Health is wealth. But being healthy takes time! That’s the common argument holding nine-to-five employees back from making healthy choices, according to workplace health experts. But what if you could start small with a few simple health hacks?
“Heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancers and poor mental health have all been linked to sedentary behaviour, so it’s important that employers introduce easy ways for their staff to keep mobile to maintain a healthy workforce,” says AXA Healthcare PPP head of clinical operations, Jan Vickery.
45 per cent of women and 37 per cent of men spend less than 30 minutes a day on their feet.
Additionally, three in four office workers feel they spend too much time sitting down during the working day, and two thirds were worried that sitting at work was having a negative impact on their health.
So what can employees do to help?
“Whether your employees work from home, or in an office, employers can make small introductions into the workplace to help employees stay active,” Vickery explains.
She outlines her top tips to help small businesses keep their employees mobile at work.
Recent research has found that the act of walking leads to increases in creative thinking, and there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence which suggests that walking meetings lead to more honest exchanges with employees and are more productive than traditional sit-down meetings.
Taking regular breaks
Frequent short breaks are better than a few long ones, and gives muscles a chance to relax. Where possible, try to encourage employees to take regular breaks from their screens, such as getting a drink, going for some fresh air, filing or photocopying.
A recent report by the NHS found that standing for more than two hours a day at work was found to lower the risks of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers.
Sitting for too long can contribute to back and neck pain so employers should introduce ergonomic workstations to help employees feel as comfortable as possible at their desks.
Health benefits such as gym memberships
The obvious benefit of having a healthy workforce is that healthier employees are absent less often. Healthy workers are more motivated to stay in work, recover from sickness quicker and are at less risk of long term illness. By promoting good health among workers and creating a positive environment for work, you could reduce employee turnover and recruitment costs. Benefits also include higher productivity and business performance as well as increased staff morale and employee engagement.
Seasonal flu is one of the biggest causes of short term illness. It is highly contagious and can affect people of all ages, so offering flu vaccinations is a simple and cost-effective way to help to keep your employees healthy.