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Tackling Sedentary Behaviour in the Workforce – A Study Into Workplace Health

Tackling Sedentary Behaviour in the Workforce – A Study Into Workplace Health
06 October 2020
 

AJ Products UK and ukactive have teamed up on a report to examine the impact of working practices on employee health and wellbeing. 

“Tackling Sedentary Behaviour in the Workforce” is a comprehensive study into the state of workplace health that looks at the risks associated with long hours spent in sedentary positions at work, whether that work is office-based or remote, and what can be done to improve activity levels among the working population.

The report investigates how office spaces must change as well as what companies can do to support remote workers and ensure wellbeing practices are sustained away from the physical workplace. It also examines real-world solutions based on case studies from businesses running successful wellbeing programmes to provide a “best practice” guide for other companies to follow.

 

"Workplaces must play a proactive role in reducing sedentary behaviour and increasing activity among UK adults. This report demonstrates that it is possible; there are businesses out there that have made a difference to the lives of their staff and who have been able to adapt these ideas to current working circumstances."

–Anna Davison

Head of Workplace Wellbeing, ukactive

 

Strategies for Both Workplaces and Home Working

 

The reports states that work stress and negative health outcomes associated with sedentary behaviour have reached substantial proportions within western industrialised societies at great cost to businesses as well as employees. “Tackling Sedentary Behaviour in the Workforce” demonstrates how simple measures such as equipping offices and homes with better furniture and encouraging employees to increase their physical activity levels can mitigate the negative health effects associated with sedentary behaviour during the workday.

It looks at how interventions around workplace design have been shown to reduce sitting time by as much as 40 minutes over an eight-hour work day while other evidence shows taking multiple standing breaks or engaging in some physical movement throughout the day can be more beneficial than having moderate to vigorous activity for a singular set amount of time.

 

Case Studies from Organisations Who Made it Work for Them

 

The report also features case studies from businesses of all sizes that highlight health and wellbeing strategies that have worked effectively as well as how these programmes have been adapted in light of COVID-19 to provide the same level of care to employees working from home. 

Whether interventions are centred around fitness challenges, online wellbeing workshops or in-house workout classes, the case studies highlight the need for each business to consider what types of interventions would be most effective based on employee preferences and demographics. It also calls attention to the need for companies to promote flexibility, permissibility and a positive working environment to ensure that employees feel comfortable to take part in these interventions and prioritise their health.

David English, Managing Director of AJ Products, a supplier of workplace furniture and interior solutions that focuses on ways to solve the problem of a sedentary workday,  commented: “Working on this report with ukactive has really highlighted the struggle that many businesses face in order to fully support the mental and physical wellbeing of all their staff. Not only did we look at the risks of sedentary workplace behaviour, we also considered the reality for many businesses in order to put forward practical suggestions that they could adopt. 2020 has, of course, presented its own unique set of challenges and underlined the importance of strategies that work for both office-based and remote workers.”

Anna Davison, Head of Workplace Wellbeing at ukactive, a not-for-profit organisation that supports organisations in getting their employees more active, added, "Now, more than ever, prioritising the health and wellbeing of the workforce is hugely important. The right working environment, both physically and culturally, is critical to creating a healthier, happier and more productive society. 

“This report shows that there is little disagreement that workplace wellbeing programmes work and are needed; this is unchanged by recent events, but we can also learn from those events. Workplaces must play a proactive role in reducing sedentary behaviour and increasing activity among UK adults. This report demonstrates that it is possible; there are businesses out there that have made a difference to the lives of their staff and who have been able to adapt these ideas to current working circumstances."

The report can be downloaded for free here.

Picture: a photograph showing two people working at active desks in an office area

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 06 October 2020

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