Creating a Culture of Wellness
In 2014, U.S.-based corporate employers spent an average of $594 per employee on wellness-based incentives. Spending was expected to increase to $693 per employee in 2015, and is climbing even higher in 2016. It’s no surprise that corporate wellness has grown into an $8 billion industry.
A 2014 Gallop study found that of companies with 1,000 or more employees, only 40% participate in company wellness programs. Another report said 50% of employees take part in health-risk appraisals, but only 10% to 20% engage in lifestyle change and disease management activities.
Nutritional programs that don’t address everyone’s personal needs and fitness events that require extra time at the office may deter people. Decision makers should present wellness options that both appeal to a broader audience and allow employees to decide when and if they’d like to engage, which also has proven to be a big factor in employee satisfaction.
Health Risks Associated With Sedentary Lifestyles
I’ve said it before, but it warrants repeating…SITTING IS THE NEW SMOKING. If it wasn’t already clear through common sense, it’s become painfully clear through science that sitting all day is terrible for your health. What’s especially alarming about this evidence is that extra physical activity doesn’t seem to offset the costs of what researchers call “prolonged sedentary time.” Just as jogging and tomato juice don’t make up for a night of smoking and drinking, the research now shows that even moderate exercise doesn’t erase the physical damage done by a full work day at your desk.
For years, traditional seated desks were the office standard. It wasn’t unusual for employees to work straight through the day, oftentimes eating lunch at their desk. Extensive research has been done on the effects of prolonged sitting and studies repeatedly have shown how harmful sedentary behavior is to our long-term health. The American Heart Association revealed that U.S. adults spend an average of 6 to 8 hours a day in sedentary behaviors that can contribute to chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease — the leading cause of death in our country.
The Solution? Find a balance between sitting and standing throughout the day. Purchase a sit/stand desk for your work or home office.
The Sit/Stand Revolution
Active office tools, like a sit/stand desk, can be part of a less intimidating and an easy-to-implement wellness initiative—one that gives users autonomy over when and how they get active. Recent research shows that standing desks can improve health and potentially contribute to psychological benefits. If you think active office tools are right for your organization, you should also consider bridging “the wellness gap” and making the move to ACTIVATE YOUR WORKPLACE!
Switching between seated and standing postures throughout the day is not only good for energy and productivity, but for overall health. Studies have shown that incorporating a sit/stand desk can burn calories, have a positive impact on well-being and prevent diseases such as heart disease, obesity, and high blood pressure.
Many factors affect employee well-being, which in turn affects work performance, cognitive functioning, morale, work culture, and a host of other work outcomes. Poor physical health, work stress, and strained employer/employee relationships can lead to disengagement and lost productivity. To address these issues, employee well-being needs to move beyond being a human resources initiative and become a business imperative.
As more companies continue creating cultures of wellness in 2017, I expect sit/stand desks to be on the forefront. Organizations that act now will be able to get the most engagement and return on their corporate health and wellness initiatives, as well as data insights that will change the way office spaces are designed, forever.
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