Stand up: protect your employees from sitting disease

Five employees have a walking meeting to get away from their desks. Walking meetings, and standing desks are just two ways to help your employees avoid the dangers of sitting disease.

Are you doing everything you can to support your employees’ health? Sitting for more than six hours a day increases the risk for over a dozen diseases and chronic conditions that may result in early death. It may be difficult for employees to move around when they work on a computer all day, but there are things employers can do to help. And it’s in their best interest to do so.

Sitting down on the job

Along with the known health risks, studies show that sitting for long periods of time can result in lower job performance and higher instances of absenteeism (not coming into work) and presenteeism (working while sick). By making it easier for employees to get up and active during the day, employers may be able to increase productivity while helping to improve the health of their staff.

Big change with little effort

There are simple things an employer can do to encourage movement throughout the day. We’ve shared ideas for how employees can add movement to their day. Here are a few ideas that could make a significant impact on your employees:

  • Discourage eating at a desk. If there is no cafeteria, create an inviting seating area away from work stations to give people a place to get away from their work.
  • Make them walk for it. Place your printer or water cooler away from work areas. Even a little movement is better than nothing!
  • Take a stand. Consider offering standing desks for employees who are interested. They make it more convenient for employees to change positions throughout the day while they work.
  • Walk and talk. Test out walking meetings to replace short emails or phone calls. Move them outdoors in nice weather for added benefits.
  • Schedule breaks. Set up time in the later morning and mid-afternoon for people to stretch, take a stroll, or just stand up for a few minutes. It’s easier to allow yourself to take a break when you see others doing it.
  • Get them involved. Create an employee-driven wellness committee. They can work with you to organize fitness challenges, develop at-work exercise classes, or find other resources to help employees get involved and get active.

Practice what you preach

It’s one thing to encourage employees to move around. It’s another when they see it in action. Encourage senior staff members and management to lead by example so your staff feels comfortable taking breaks and looking after their health.