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    How to encourage staff to exercise at work

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    Sitting down for long periods in the office does little for our health making it even more important to consider exercising at work. Greg Stewart, head of furniture at Office Depot, shares how companies can encourage employees to be more active in the workplace.

    With On Your Feet Britain taking place this week, there has never been a better time to encourage staff to exercise at work. Motivating staff to move more, the campaign aims to convert sitting time to standing time and promote the many health benefits that physical activity can have for employees while raising awareness of the health dangers of spending hours seated at a desk.

    According to recent studies, UK workers spend 75 per cent of their day sitting down. However, studies have claimed that there are major health benefits to standing. In fact, standing for three hours a day for five days could burn around 750 calories, which over a year would add up to a total of approximately 30,000.

    While the benefits of having active and healthy employees are apparent, communicating the importance of physical activity to staff can be a challenge. Yet there are solutions to make achieving increased activity in the workplace more straightforward. For example, by introducing office furniture that not only encourages physical activity, but also supports employees through the working day, employers can ensure that workers’ comfort is prioritised whilst guaranteeing that the equipment does not become a short-lived novelty.

    The introduction of standing and height-adjustable desks can be a clever way to inspire employees to get on their feet, boosting energy levels and overall fitness levels. In turn, supporting wellbeing objectives in this way can have a positive impact on productivity and creativity, which in turn can be good news for a business’s bottom line.

    “Standing for three hours a day for five days could burn around 750 calories, which over a year would add up to a total of approximately 30,000.”

    Meetings are an essential element of office life. However, most involve sitting down for long periods of time, something which not only contributes to health problems, but which may also affect attention spans and drag down morale. One way of encouraging workers to spend less time in the boardroom is to limit meetings to 30 minutes. However, sometimes longer meetings are unavoidable. In these cases, the switch from traditional boardroom tables to standing desks or ‘poseur’ height tables, accompanied by height-adjustable stools and benches, allows employees the choice of standing or adjusting their seating to suit their individual posture.

    Furthermore, the provision of office equipment to encourage movement and activity need not be limited to the workstations and meeting rooms. For informal areas or breakout rooms, the provision of exercise balls can help to promote activity during downtime. Sitting on an exercise ball requires the user to increase core strength thus improving posture. By introducing them into breakout areas, businesses can reap the rewards of more active employees with minimal initial cost outlay.

    It is important to remember that health initiatives do not have to be costly or difficult for employers to implement. By providing a few key pieces of furniture, businesses can ensure that they encourage an active work environment which will lead to not only overall productivity and financial gains, but also a healthier and happier workplace.


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    Jade Burke

    Jade Burke, Editor for PA Life

    All stories by: Jade Burke