If you are anything like me, you probably sit in an office in front of a computer for eight hours a day, five days a week. I have a great job and I enjoy my desk life, but there’s no denying that a sedentary lifestyle is not a healthy one. Thousands of years ago, humans didn’t sit around all day; they had to hunt for their food or work the farm fields to grow crops. Either way, physical labor was involved. However, nowadays, that active lifestyle is a thing of the past for many employees who work in an office setting.
So how can we combat this epidemic of sluggishness and lack of movement? How can we change the mindset of employers to embrace the idea that employees in motion are better off in a number of ways than just sitting all day? Introduce a wellness program at your organization and sell its benefits to your management team. Include people from every level within the organization to help create buy-in from all employees.
At DAVIS, many of our employees have recently begun sporting wearable fitness trackers. I couldn’t help but join in the fun and bought one for myself a few months ago, and I’m so glad I did. Several of my colleagues and I have begun competing in weekly step challenges, including who can take the most steps from Monday to Friday. The daily goal is 10,000 steps and I’m amazed at how often my competition regularly surpasses that goal. Right now, the only motivator we have to win is sheer bragging rights, but I assure you that no one likes to end up in last place. In the near future, I’d like to introduce a reward component that’s simple and cost-effective, and the weekly winner will receive a small prize like a gift card. I believe that adding in a tangible reward will encourage further participation by others in the office, as well as increase the number of steps everyone is taking.
Another initiative happening at our office is a biweekly after-work fitness/cardio workout. One of our recruiters brought in a dance workout DVD and several women from the office have joined in the fun. We have a large training center which doubles nicely as a fitness room after 5:30pm. The videos are typically only 30-40 minutes in length, so it’s not a huge time commitment, and it’s a great way to get your heart pumping and bond with your coworkers.
The bottom line: staying active every day is uber-important for your health and the health of your staff. Allow flexibility in your employees’ workdays to help create frequent breaks for stretching and movement. A healthy workforce is a happy and productive workforce!