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Safety - Kick the Sit Out of Work

As the business world evolves, things naturally become obsolete. For example, typewriters gave way to computers and printers, which allow employees to complete their work with greater speed and efficiency.

Similarly, it’s time to retire the archaic notion of employees working without leaving their desks head-down all day. Incorporating movement into employee’s work-lifestyle can increases productivity, creativity, employee’s happiness all while reducing hard costs that hit your bottom line, like health benefits premiums.

Goal


Update the work environment to include less sedentary behaviour while maintaining or increasing overall productivity.

What is Kick the Sit Out of Work?
Sedentary work-lifestyle involves prolonged periods of inactivity, and an absence of whole-body movement. Employees are at the mercy of their employer’s work-lifestyle expectations which often include sitting for excessively long periods of time.

The human body is designed for movement and should alternate between sitting, standing and activities, such as walking, regularly throughout the day. Sitting for most of the during the day is harming more than employee’s health, it’s costing your workplace money. Employees experiencing a sedentary work-lifestyle are more likely to develop chronic pain, heart-related conditions, and a range of other afflictions that could cause them to deliver subpar work or miss a workday altogether. It also has implications on your workplace healthcare premiums.

Even if workers manage to undertake their recommended 30 minutes of active exercise a day, if they still remain sedentary for the rest of the day, they will have an increased risk of health problems.

How does Kick the Sit Out of Work improve employee engagement and culture?
Wellness and employee engagement go hand-in-hand. A study by Gallup found that:
62% of engaged employees feel their work positively affects their physical health.
54% of actively disengaged employees say their work life has a negative effect on their physical health.

Employees feel engaged when work feels more like a community and less like a factory. The employees work-lifestyle can foster a sense of community in the workplace.

When an employee is happy with their job, it positively affects their health. When an employee is healthy and feeling their best mentally and physically, they’ll feel happier in the workplace. It’s a relationship that builds off of one another, and employers should really take advantage of that.

What are the benefits?
Improved concentration
Sharper memory
Prolonged mental stamina
Enhanced creativity
Lower risk of musculoskeletal pain, discomfort and injury
Reduced risk of chronic diseases
Lower risk of fatigue
Healthy maintenance of the circulatory system and digestive tract

How do you conduct Kick the Sit Out of Work in the workplace?
Changing work-lifestyle habits and environments is often seen as time-consuming, complex and expensive but there are many easy low-cost initiatives available. To foster a healthier work-lifestyle encourage:
Stand-up desks. Available online for a little as $25 each.
Walking meetings. Improves concentration, memory, and creativity – not to mention mood.
Cubicle workouts. Combats stiffness in the neck and shoulders, listlessness, and back pain.
Lunch and burns. Use yoga and/or workout videos from YouTube.
Incidental movement. Position printers and bins away from work areas.
Schedule changes. Plan breaks and task variation to break up long periods of sitting.
Make healthy eating easy. Stop providing unhealthy options and stock the lunchroom with fruits, nuts, veggies and dressing.

Action


Normalize Movement in the Workplace

Activity - Lunch and Burns
To help employees re-charge mid-day, start up a lunchtime walking group or offer in-house lunchtime yoga sessions (with an instructor or a video). The movement pattern of walking will have a calming effect, while the yoga stretches, and mindful breathing exercises will provide a refreshed outlook for the afternoon.

Result - Better Focus
Physical activity increases blood flow to the brain, resulting in better focus and attention. These activities are a form of muscular meditation; performing a repetitive type of physical activity which reduces stress and puts the brain in a more relaxed state.

Activity - Walking
During all-day meetings, break up long periods of sitting by having the group stand, stretch or take a quick stroll around the office. If a team member needs to be mentally alert for a big presentation, encourage them to take a walk or do some brisk physical activity ahead of time.

Result - Think Better
People who are regularly active are consistently more productive after seven hours of work than those who aren’t – they have more energy, clearer minds and enhanced concentration. Since physical activity can have a dramatic impact on our cognitive and organizational abilities, it’s a valuable tool to help optimize employee performance.

3. Activity - Interactive Groups
Experiment with walking or standing meetings to prevent things from getting stagnant. During training sessions, use icebreaker games or interactive group tasks (using white boards or post-it notes) to get participants up and moving.

Result - Learn Better
Physically active employees are primed to take in and retain new information, since the brain’s learning and memory systems responds strongly to aerobic exercise. Research shows that problem solving, memory and attention are immediately enhanced following exercise.

Activity - Fresh Air for Fresh Ideas
Taking a personal brainstorming session outside is a tried-and-true way to stimulate creativity and “blue-sky” thinking. Inspiration may strike while strolling to the coffee shop or walking to a transit stop at the end of the day. Remind your team that fresh air can spark fresh ideas.

Result - Create Better
Daily physical activity is scientifically proven to improve divergent and convergent thinking, the two components of creative thought. Studies show that aerobic forms of exercise – such as walking– are most effective in boosting creativity.

Activity - Walk the Talk
By being a role model and showing those around you that you prioritize physical activity, your team members are likely to do the same. Build positive habits. During the workday, take regular breaks to stretch or move about the office (set a timer on your phone if needed).

Result -Lead Better
Leadership is stressful and demanding. The good news is, a consistent physical activity routine will make you an even better leader, by enhancing your confidence and productivity.

Reference Material
Regular Exercise Is Part of Your Job
How to Support Employee Health Instead of Sapping It

Updated on: 08/31/2023

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