There’s a new disease affecting workers, and it’s not a disease with obvious symptoms. Sitting disease, as they’re calling it, affects 86% of American workers and can be worsened by a sedentary lifestyle outside of the workplace.
The human body was designed for movement, but desk jobs are contributing to our increasingly sedentary lifestyles. Forward-thinking entrepreneurs can help combat the problem by encouraging a healthier, more active lifestyle. Here’s how:
Invest in Sit/Stand Desks
Unfortunately, the harmful effects of sitting at a desk all day can’t be counteracted with exercise alone. Movement is the key. That’s where a sit/stand desk can help.
A sit/stand desk has an adjustable height that allows employees to either work while standing or sitting. Having the option of sitting or standing may be more beneficial than simply requiring employees to stand at their desks. Standing too much, as it turns out, can double your risk of heart disease. A sit/stand desk can allow for a healthy balance of standing and sitting.
Encourage Employees to Move More
If movement is the solution, then encouraging employees to get up and move can go a long way in combatting sitting disease.
Researchers say getting up every 30 minutes can help reduce the risk of death.
Encourage employees to take regular short breaks and to move as much as possible during these breaks. Phone calls can be answered while walking or standing. Hold walking meetings where everyone walks around the block while discussing the matters at hand. Even something as simple as walking to a co-worker’s desk or the water cooler can help get the blood flowing.
Invest in Balance Boards or Stability Ball Chairs
Sit/stand desks aren’t the only option if you want to get your employees up and moving. For those using standing desks, a balance board can be used to burn additional calories while strengthening muscles. Stability ball chairs work in a similar way and help to develop a strong core.
Some employees may prefer to use a treadmill desk or an under-desk recumbent bike to stay active while working. Do what you can to accommodate your employee’s preferences as long as it doesn’t interfere with productivity.
Establish a Wellness Program
Make health and wellness a part of your company culture. If your budget allows, you may offer an on-site gym and/or fitness classes.
If that’s not possible, you can reimburse employees for their gym memberships and fitness-related purchases.
Plan for team-building activities that get employees moving. Outdoor team-building workshops can help strengthen bonds between co-workers while promoting an active lifestyle.
Reward Employees for Being Active
Some entrepreneurs are giving their employees Fitbits and monitoring their activity. Those who are the most active during the week or month get rewarded. Offering an attractive reward will encourage more employees to participate and be more active.
Encouraging employees to take regular, short breaks is the real key to helping prevent sitting disease. Getting up and moving every 30 minutes for 5 minutes can help reset the body and get the blood flowing properly again.