If any business is to be truly successful then the health and wellbeing of its staff is paramount; after all, without them, there’s no one to fulfil new or existing contracts. They are your company’s life-blood, and must be taken care of lest you pay for your failure to do so down the line. Most employers do seem to be aware of this fact, which makes it all the more surprising that a recent study published by Active Working, in partnership with On Your Feet Britain, found that offices throughout the UK are failing to adequately meet the health needs of their staff.

The Sitting Survey 2017 highlighted a massive difference in how employers and their staff view health and activity in the workplace. The survey states that less than a third of line managers were reportedly either aware of the health risks of sedentary behaviour at work but not bothered, or were simply unaware of the issue. Breaking that down, 28% of companies were said to be ‘very aware’ of the health risks of prolonged sitting, 36% were ‘somewhat aware but keen to know more’, almost 22% were ‘somewhat aware but not that bothered’, and 13% were totally ignorant on the matter.

The equivalent figures for employees differ significantly from the attitude of their bosses, with more than 75% of office workers who replied to the survey confirming that they were ‘very aware’ of the health risks of prolonged or excessive sitting. A further 20% said they were ‘somewhat aware’ of the dangers of the ‘sitting disease’ but wanted to know more. Fewer than 5% were either unaware or simply not that bothered.

The results clearly show that employers need to pay more attention to such matters.

Almost 60% of workers state that during the working day they spend 6 or more hours sitting down, which is a significant worry given the plethora of scientific evidence indicating that sitting for more than 4 hours per day can lead to health complications including cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, mental health problems, and even some cancers.

Respondents to the survey seemed to have some pretty clear wishes and demands in mind as part of an effort to remedy this situation. Over three-quarters said they wanted more clear leadership, encouragement and education on active working solutions, while 38% believe that a culture change is necessary at the company if real improvements are to be made. 34% had a very specific request, seeking access to adjustable desks.

Gavin Bradley, Founding Director of Active Working, summarised the results rather succinctly, stating that, “Employees across the country need to start asking for more activity in the workplace. No employee should be expected to sit for excessive or prolonged periods, like battery hens.”

The report also offered a few pointers on how to easily bring more activity to the workplace, which are as follows:
  • Stand during phone calls
  • Stand and take a break from your computer every 30 minutes
  • Use the stairs rather than the lift
  • Have standing or walking meetings
  • Eat your lunch away from your desk
  • Walk to your colleague's desk instead of phoning or emailing them
  • Stand at the back of the room during presentations

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.
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