According to the latest study from CV-Library, the UK’s leading independent job board, 29.1% of the UK workforce state that their job has led them to gain weight, indicating a wider issue among many professions.

The survey of 1,200 UK professionals further found that as well as the more obvious health issues, of those who indicate that their job has caused them to lose weight a massive majority of 75.7% also admit that this has led to a decrease in happiness. This has a knock-on effect not only on their health and quality of life, but also their performance in regards to the company.

Of the reasons cited by respondents for weight gain at work, the top five causes were found to be:
  1. Sitting at a desk all day (50.1%)
  2. Working long days that don’t leave time to fit in exercise (40.8%)
  3. Snacking a lot at work (40.3%)
  4. Eating more due to stress at work (31.2%)
  5. Colleagues bringing in unhealthy snacks to share (28%)
Lee Biggins, Founder and Managing Director of CV-Library, said of the findings, “Living a healthy lifestyle can sometimes feel like a job in itself, so it’s unsurprising to see that work has an impact on the eating and exercise habits of many of the nation’s professionals. That said, it’s worrying to learn that such a high percentage are unhappy as a result. Weight gain at work is understandable, particularly if you sit at a desk all day and struggle to fit in going to the gym or taking part in exercise before or after work.

“While it can be tricky, as ultimately the lifestyle choices of your employees are out of your hands, try to encourage healthy habits. Walk or cycle to work schemes are always a great way to get help staff fit in exercise around their working day. What’s more, inexpensive perks like healthy snacks and team lunches, or discounted gym membership are positive ways to encourage your staff to look after themselves. After all, unhealthy and unhappy staff are going to be less motivated, and  as a result, less productive.”

Weight gain is of course far from the only thing compromising the overall happiness of the UK workforce, as evidenced by the 53.3% of respondents who revealed that there are other aspects of their job that made them feel unhappy. These include; feeling overworked (32.5%), a poor work-life balance (22.1%), poor company culture (20.1%), long commutes (19.1%), and a general dislike of daily tasks (18.5%).

Reassuringly it does appear that these unhappy employees are doing what they can in an effort to counteract these issues. 81.8% of those who reported being unhappy with aspects of their job insist that they do take a proactive approach to making themselves feel better, with 63.1% turning to colleagues, 18.7% taking regular breaks and 12% browsing social media in an effort to unwind.

Mr Biggins concluded by saying, “We spend a lot of our time at work, so it’s important that our job makes us happy. While it’s good to see that some professionals are taking positive steps to make themselves feel better at work, if they’re suffering from a poor work-life balance, long commutes or are working somewhere that has a poor culture, it’s unlikely that regular breaks or browsing Facebook will solve the problem in the long term. Plus these are costly solutions from a business perspective, who could be losing hours from employees browsing social media or stopping to chat.

“Instead, if you recognise that a member of the team seems unhappy, arrange a meeting to sit down and discuss what’s bothering them. This will help you to nip it in the bud right away. What’s more, work hard to create a fun and creative company culture, where staff get along, but also feel they can approach you if they’re experiencing any problems.”

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 as he continues to expand his horizons.
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