Employers know having healthier employees means lower healthcare expenses and higher productivity. Many companies have workplace wellness programs that include gym discounts or hold competitions for employees to reach 10,000 steps on their Fitbit everyday. Programs and wearable technology should be commended but they ignore the elephant in the room: our posteriors remain in our office chairs for 8-10 hours a day.
The dangers of sitting all day include:
- Heart Disease – Muscles burn less fat and blood flows more sluggishly during a long sit, allowing fatty acids to more easily clog the heart.
- Over-productive Pancreas – Cells in idle muscles don’t respond as readily to insulin, so the pancreas produces more and more, which can lead to diabetes and other diseases.
- Colon cancer – Some research suggests that sitting can lead to colon cancer.
- Muscle degeneration – A.k.a. mushy abs
- Strained neck and back
- Foggy brain – You’re not as sharp when there’s a lack of oxygenated blood.
We’d like to recommend a few simple office changes to help your staff stay healthy at work. These little things can make a big difference.
- Get your employees standing desks. There are lots of options of varying price ranges. If these seem too costly, be open to desk-mounted options that allow employees to stand when they want to/
- Encourage your employees to stand more by being an example and doing #1 yourself.
- Have a walking meeting if possible. Raise your hand if you’ve had to pinch yourself in a meeting to stay awake. Keep that hand up if that didn’t work in the slightest…
- Fill your water glass every hour, and if you need the prompting, put it in your Outlook calendar like any appointment.
- Make sure building management keeps stairways clean, safe and well lit. Encouraging everyone to take the stairs is a great way to get a little exercise at work.
- Have all printing centralized in one location.
- Allow employees to sit on exercise balls or have other health equipment at their desk.
The health hazards of sitting can be balanced out with enough opportunities for movement. Beyond the steps above, walking the walk yourself, and encouraging management to do the same, does wonders to change the workplace culture of sitting.
Many of the commercial interior spaces we create in Atlanta consider employee health as a design factor. If you are interested in learning more about renovating your office or commercial space in the Atlanta area, please contact us for a consultation. Remember that healthier employees are happier employees.