Would it surprise you to know that according to Statista, less than 50% of the UK adult population walk for recreational purposes just once a week and that statistic drops to 20% for 3 walks in a week? On average half of the British population accumulate just 2,000 steps daily and these sedentary lifestyle factors contribute directly to obesity, weakened immunity and poor mental health. For employees working long hours, in a stressful working environment that is mostly spent seated behind a desk, it presents an obstacle that we want to help navigate.
Boost the creativity of your workforce.
The mind-body connection study concluded that physical activity had an overwhelming impact on the creativity of the individuals that were physically active compared to those who were sedentary. Supporting your workforce with incentives and opportunities to move with benefits of the mind can have a direct impact on the productivity of your organisation.
Empower your employees with confidence in decision making.
Critical thinking is improved directly after physical activity, enabling employees to make sharper decisions can directly reduce the implications of presenteeism and the detrimental costs of mistakes. A brisked 10-minute walk has also been shown to directly influence mental wellbeing and a positive mindset. That positive mindset is joined by an improved nights sleep, better sleep helps to reduce stress levels and promotes a happier working environment.
Reduce the risk of obesity, back pain and a weakened immune system.
Daily physical activity helps to expend energy and supports weight loss. Being overweight and obese can contribute to complications with back pain, whilst walking helps to improve muscle strength and mobility. Minor illnesses (coughs and colds and other immune-related illnesses) and Musculoskeletal problems (including back pain) are the two primary leading factors in illness and unplanned days off work. Incorporating a walking strategy or policy for your employees who work from home or in the office can have a positive impact in reducing these absences.
So why don't people walk more?
The obstacles people face with physical activity will vary amongst the different roles within your organisation. For some, this could be due to a sedentary role or simply because they feel like they must be seen to be at their desk. For others, they may lack motivation, desire or the energy to get started, or they may not be aware of the benefits walking has for them and some employees may also fear change. To truly understand how physical activity impacts your business or organisation, start with communication and find out where your staff are at. A simple way to do this is to send a company-wide poll to gather thoughts and ideas. When we know what the problems are we are better equipped to provide solutions.
Communicate with your workforce about their current physical activity, preferences and obstacles.
Be compassionate to their needs, focus on what is working well, encourage and build from a positive position.
Collaborate with a workplace wellness initiative that promotes the well-being of your team physically and mentally.
Build an internal community with values that align with health and prosperity, welcoming to all levels of fitness, knowledge and experience.
Here are some ideas to help encourage, support and promote walking within your workplace
The easiest way to encourage activity is to keep it simple, accessible and enjoyable, try implementing some of these strategies and watch your workplace thrive.
Implement standing or walking meetings.
Walk to work or park a little further away.
Allocate time and breaks for opportunities to move away from a working area.
Offer standing desk options.
Create a collective initiative like "walk the world".
Provide employees with step trackers.
Promote the stairs over lifts and elevators with positive prompts and visual cues.
Encourage comfortable footwear at work.
Praise positive self-development.
These ideas can be extended to colleagues who work from home too, did we forget anything? Let us know what you've found works to get people moving more.