Corporate culture needs to adapt to allow office employees the opportunity to exercise in the middle of the working day, health experts say.
And internal communication will need to play a key role in helping to change people’s established mindsets towards lunchtime workouts, even helping to save lives in the process.
Dramatic? Perhaps a touch.
But the warning is certainly serious and needs to be heeded, insist medical professionals who have voiced alarm at the amount of time people now spend sitting at desks in front of computer screens.
Fit and healthy employees perform far better at work. That’s not rocket science.
But with the boundaries becoming ever more blurred between professional and personal, careers are taking a toll on people’s wellbeing.
Technology too is having an impact. Flexible working has many benefits but having easy access to email at home results means people struggle to switch off from their work even deep into the evening.
“This demand for 24/7 access, this idea that I can always access you and you should intensely, immediately respond, is a stressor, and we know from studies that chronic stress will shorten your life and ultimately kill you,” Dr. Mary Ellen Rose, US-based consultant for workplace health promotion, told thesudburystar.com.
Research says workers who remain rooted to their desks are more susceptible to muscle and spinal injuries – with those spending 11 hours a day at their desks having a 40 PER CENT higher chance of dying.
So what can be done?
People need to be fitter – and taking time away from their busy desk jobs to exercise or meditate will help.
But it’ll take a dramatic shift in workplace attitudes to make it happen, according Alexia Brue, co-founder of the wellness media company Well+Good.
She said: “One of the challenges is creating the acceptance that you can work out at lunch and come back to the desk sweaty.
“Culturally there needs to be a shift, so workers can roll into office from their workout.”
“We also need to get out the message that it’s as important to unplug and to, say, meditate as it is to be always and immediately responsive.”
So the challenge is there.
Providing the opportunity for busy staff to have the time to fit in “health” breaks is one part of it.
Convincing colleagues that exercise can be an acceptable part of the working day is the other significant element.
Neither are easy. But it may just save lives.
By the way, if you think your company is not quite ready to embrace the full lunchtime workout approach, you’ll be pleased to hear that it’s not only the way to approach the situation. Even a simple stretching session can help. See the great tips from Officevibe in the infographic below.
This infographic was created by Officevibe.