How a Healthy Workplace is a Productive Workplace
By Kiara Canavate, Customer Relationship Manager
The benefits of a healthy workforce have long been known. Research suggests that workers who eat well, exercise regularly and are generally healthy are more productive, take fewer sick days, and will cost the company less than who aren’t.
Since Government funding for corporate wellness was cut, the onus has been on businesses to invest in healthy workplaces themselves. As a result, corporate wellness might not be at the top of HR’s priority list. Busy work schedules take over, and there’s a risk we all just slip back into old unhealthy habits. In fact, unless corporate wellness practices and values are embedded in the DNA of an organisation, they become harder and harder to maintain.
It takes time, commitment, and often a little restructuring, but a workplace genuinely valuing health will see the results.
At Cannings Purple, we are taking small, active steps in welcoming corporate wellness into the office. This month I’ve introduced standing desks as another nudge towards a happier, healthier workplace.
Why standing desks?
The average office worker spends about 80,000 hours seated in the course of their working life. 80% of our work time is spent in front of a computer.
Heart Foundation Australia have researched the damage this sedentary lifestyle can have on workers. Sitting for long periods of time can reduce brain function activity and increase the risk of chronic diseases due to slower blood flow. It can add inches to your waistline as well of course. Not surprisingly, back pain is the most common side effect of sedentary work behaviour with two thirds of office workers reporting tension and pain in the shoulder and neck. More than half have back problems and around 45% suffer from eye problems and headaches.
Standing desk adoption rates at Cannings Purple were high with most staff interested in finding a healthier way of working.
Our Director of Design and Digital Jamie Wilkinson is one of the people using them.
“I was surprised actually by how tiring it can be just standing at your desk, but after a week or two, I’m really noticing the difference. There’s something energising about standing up to work, it burns three times as many calories as sitting, and makes you more mindful in general about being healthier at work.”
To help combat sore legs and feet, anti-fatigue mats have also been provided, relieving pressure on the heels and joints helping staff to stand longer. Our team have also been made aware of compromised posture and when it is time to sit down again and give those legs a rest.
Encouraging staff to stand while talking on the phone, taking regular screen breaks and drinking more water are all good practice in the office.
Health in the workplace can often be overlooked by the corporate team as something which is the responsibility of individuals. But when the leadership team buy in to the notion, it can send a powerful signal to staff that healthy working is important.
Other successful nudges we’ve introduced in our business include:
Providing outdoor break-out areas for meetings and meals
Providing breakfast at work for those who require it
Subsidising group fitness - we have recently helped fund a series of yoga and pilates classes for those who want it.
As simple as it sounds, corporate wellness is harder to maintain than you might think. Behaviour modification takes time, and will be different person to person. That is why we are taking small, but active steps to introduce it into our office.
Challenge your company to think differently about wellness, and what it means to the work place.
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