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Recent research from the UK and USA makes for depressing reading if you run a business which involves your staff doing a lot of sitting around.

While they may be incredibly productive, chair-bound workers are increasingly being encouraged to be more active around the office in order to improve their long-term physical and mental health.

In a survey of 2000 workers, the British Heart Foundation recently discovered that nearly half of all female office employees – and more than a third of men – spend less than 30 minutes of the working day on their feet.

This followed hot on the heels of research from the United States that identified that the risk of heart disease in later life is greatly increased by each hour spent sitting down – and that the inactivity is as bad for long-term health as smoking.

These increasingly sedate office lifestyles can also contribute to a range of other health issues, including obesity, type-2 diabetes, depression, stress and anxiety.

The situation is set to become more severe, with fewer people employed in manual labour roles across society, and more machinery controlled by seated workers.

If there’s a high level of inactivity among your staff, sooner or later it could impact on their health – and the productivity of your business.

But there are simple steps businesses can take to engender a culture of activity and to help staff become more energised in body and mind.

  1. Encourage chair-bound workers to move around every hour. Even the process of getting up and sitting down several times per day is good for you.
  2. Encourage all staff to get away from their desks and take a proper lunch hour.
  3. Encourage staff to walk across the office to speak to co-workers rather than sending emails.
  4. Using upright chairs with no armrests can improve posture and encourage staff to shift their body position more often.
  5. Set up work stations in such a way to encourage movement by having more items out of reach, eg printers, files, bins.

It might be a bit of a cliché, but a healthy workforce is so good for your business. Fit employees are less likely to be unwell or absent from work, reducing absenteeism and productivity. They tend to have better concentration skills and be happier and nicer to be around.

And looking further down the track, with an ageing workforce, and more people working beyond standard retirement age, the health of your workforce is likely to have an impact on your workers compensation insurance premiums sooner or later.

At Emjay Insurance Brokers, we are experts in Occupational Health & Safety and workers compensation insurance, and we can help you with risk management, workplace analyses and much more. You can read more about our workers comp services here, and you can contact us on 02 9796 0400.

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