Stop! You're working yourself to death...

David Price – CEO of Health Assured

September 04 2017

Who would have thought sitting down was so dangerous? Well, turns out that it’s a lethal weapon. Especially for office workers or others in stationary roles. A sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of conditions and illnesses like obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer and depression. So it’s no wonder that the World Health Organisation identified “inactivity” as the fourth leading cause of death worldwide, killing an estimated 3.2 million people every year. Worrying stats. Many of us are quite literally working ourselves to death. It’s why a growing number of employers and business owners now invest time in helping employees with their long-term health and wellbeing. Here are four of the best and easiest ways to do it:
  1. Get up and get moving
Encourage staff to get on their feet and away from their desks. For some managers, this may be hard to adjust to, particularly if they fear their team taking too long. But you only need short, regular breaks—the activity will add up. Start small with initiatives like taking the stairs instead of the lift, and encourage staff to walk over to colleagues to discuss work issues rather than calling or emailing. Remove bins from under desks, reposition drinks dispensers and place printers away from nearby workstations; staff will inevitably have to move.
  1. Standing and walking meetings
Hold standing and walking meetings—the latter is ideal for smaller groups of around two to three people. Otherwise, it may be hard to manage. As well as improving fitness, you might find other positive benefits of being on the move. Some people may find they have more ideas whereas others might enjoy a more concise, productive meeting.
  1. Lunch breaks away from the desk
The brain needs rest to perform at its peak, so it’s always better to encourage staff to leave their workstation for breaks and lunch. Eating at regular intervals helps to combat stress and depression, as does going for a walk and getting some vitamin D (in short supply on these shores, of course). But sometimes, a working lunch is necessary. There may be a looming deadline or a mountainous workload to get through. But it’s unsustainable in the long term—both for the body and mind. Don’t allow your people—or you—to let that become a habit.
  1. Sit-stand desks
Sit-stand desks are great at getting staff up and moving. They help to reduce the musculoskeletal disorders so often caused by sedentary work, allowing staff a larger and better range of movement throughout the day. But be warned: they can be expensive. So, if you only have regular desks and chairs, a cheaper option could be to use a laptop or tablet in a suitable standing working area elsewhere. Want to look after your staff’s long-term health? Looking for ways to get started? Get in touch with the experts at Health Assured today.

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