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Home workers are more active

03 April 2019

FINDINGS IN a study by health and wellbeing provider – BHSF, revealed that 32% of home workers often build exercise into their daily routine.

A further 41% semi-frequently go to the gym, go for a run, or a brisk walk during their working day. Employees are clearly embracing the flexibility that working from home provides, and are using it to positively impact on their health and wellbeing. 

While home workers appear to be prioritising their health, it’s a different story for UK office workers. Currently, 35% are failing to achieve the recommended 150mins of exercise each week, and 73% cite work pressures as a key contributing factor.1

This Friday 5 April is National Walk to Work Day, but walking to work isn’t the only way to increase physical activity in the workplace. Make a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of your workforce – wherever they’re working from – by encouraging these five simple things: 

  1. Champion forward-planning

Encourage your employees to keep their diaries up to date, and block out time each week for lunchtime walks or exercise classes. You could also encourage your teams to go for a walk together, or set up walking/cycling groups. Group activities not only form strong personal bonds between employees, but they also hold employees accountable to each other – meaning they’re more likely to actually go. 

  1. Encourage walking meetings or standing phone calls

For meetings that don’t need a screen or lots of note taking, set the trend with walking meetings. Regular one-to-ones with a line manager can be ideal for these. Also encourage standing phone calls in the office (and for remote workers). 

  1. Think about technology

For employees wanting to become more active, assessing their current level of health is vital. Apps or fitness watches can be used to track steps, set daily fitness goals, plus measure heart rate and calories burned. You could set up a company-wide steps challenge for people to join in, or if you have the opportunity for raffle prizes/competition prizes – give away a fitness watch! 

  1. Promote proper lunch breaks

Eating lunch at your desk isn’t healthy for employees, and can harm their productivity. Encouraging your workforce to take a break away from their screens allows their eyes and brain to rest, and can mean they’re more productive in the afternoon. Lead by example – employees who see senior members of staff or line managers taking a proper break will see that it’s okay for them to also take time away from their desk. 

  1. Think about benefits 

NHS statistics show that sitting down for more than six hours each day is responsible for nearly 7,000 deaths in the UK each year. If you’re an employer of people in sedentary jobs, think about the benefits that you could offer employees to encourage more physical activity. You could consider providing gym discounts, setting up sports teams, and assessing the current food offered to employees. 

Brian Hall – chief commercial officer at BHSF, said, “Employers can benefit from encouraging their employees to be more active. 

“A healthier workforce means less risk of disease, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even some cancers. This can have a positive impact on sickness absence rates and productivity – helping to keep employees in work and healthy.”

*BHSF research conducted by OnePoll with 897 UK employees who work at least two days a week from home.

1 Survey from Pure Gym, May 2017