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Findings reveal true extent of workplace wellbeing issues

06 September 2022

A WORRYING number of workers (86%) admit they have too much work to be able to move during the working day, with chronic stress and anxiety becoming increasingly prevalent, according to a new report by Magic Mountain, supported by CIMSPA (The Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity).

Despite growing health issues linked with consistently spending too much time seated, the report from Magic Mountain, which creates and manages wellness campaigns for workplaces, found 54% of workers remain sedentary for eight hours or more during the working day alone.

The findings show 86% of workers feel they have too much work to move during their working day, while more than one in three workers (34%) are afraid to leave their desks in case people think they are not working. A huge 63% of workers only go outside for 10 minutes or less during the working day.  

With NHS figures estimating UK adults spend around nine hours sedentary in a full day (including at home and travelling), these new findings show the true extent of the sedentary issue in the workplace.

Studies have shown that people who spend long periods of time sitting have been found to have higher rates of type 2 diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, some types of cancer, cardiovascular disease and even death. What's more, this lack of physical activity is costing the UK an estimated £7.4 billion a year.

It isn’t just the physical issues the UK workforce is facing either. Multiple respondents reported feelings of increased stress (81%) and anxiety (75%), while a staggering 89% said their productivity is significantly impacted by tiredness and a lack of energy.

CEO at Magic Mountain Katy Brown commented, “Simply put, our research has shown that thousands of workers across various sectors and industries are surviving, not thriving. I’ve experienced first hand what happens when our work conflicts with our wellbeing, and it’s my mission to help turn the tide on the workplace wellbeing epidemic we’re currently facing.

“Nobody should have to choose between meaningful work and their health, and yet that is all too often the case.”

The good news for employers is the desire to change is there. According to the findings, 65% of workers feel wellbeing is a priority for their leadership teams, while 72% want to move more during the day.

Katy continues: “Wellbeing is no longer a ‘nice to have’. It has to become an integral part of your business strategy. Almost everyone we spoke to (98%) said employers have an important role to play in supporting their wellbeing, while 64% would find another job if they didn’t feel their wellbeing was supported at work. Despite this, only 44% of companies have a wellbeing strategy in place.”

Oliver Patrick, leading physiologist and co-founder of Future Practice, offers his advice: “Increased daily movement can play a significant role in reducing the incidence, and impact, of chronic stress, anxiety and depression – and reduce the risk of their physical manifestations.

“Movement stabilises our blood glucose, reducing our diabetes and disease risk while increasing our productivity. We know it can also have a positive impact on musculoskeletal pain, digestion and energy levels. Change doesn’t necessarily need to be grand gestures, it could simply be a quick stretch or a stroll a couple of times an hour at first, but employers need to foster a culture where this is actively encouraged.”

To read the full report by Magic Mountain and CIMSPA, including tips to improve wellbeing in the workplace, visit: https://magicmountain.app/corporate-wellness/