Sedentary lifestyle at work: what is it and how to fight it?


Table of Contents

It's no secret that the habits of modern life contribute to a sedentary routine. We spend way too much time in cars and concentrating on our smartphones. The day-to-day in the offices aggravates the situation with employees sitting in front of the computer all day. Therefore, it is necessary to think of alternatives to avoid the sedentary lifestyle at work.

In addition to harming the employee health, this issue also affects productivity and business results.

With that in mind, we've put together in this article everything you need to know to understand how a sedentary lifestyle at work happens and ways to make your employees more active. Interested? Read on!

What is sedentary lifestyle at work?

Sedentary lifestyle at work is the scarcity or total absence of physical activities, characterized by reduced caloric expenditure. In many cases, the problem is accompanied by unbalanced diets or smoking, further increasing the damage to health.

When there are sedentary problems in the workplace, both employees and the business lose out.

The good news is that encouraging physical exercise can help to avoid these situations. According to a survey by the University of East Carolina, an increase of only 5% in the activities of employees can significantly reduce health costs and decreased performance.

What are the consequences of a sedentary lifestyle at work?

According to the medical journal The Physician and Sportsmedicine, expenses related to health problems can reach US$ 330 (approximately £1,821.60) per employee per year. Not to mention the consequences of indirect costs such as:

  • absence compensation;
  • drop in productivity;
  • chronic diseases such as diabetes and some cancers.

Because it harms health, the lack of physical exercise can generate a high volume of absences and sick leave on staff. To make up for these absences, the company ends up having to hire temporary employees, which increases the payroll expenses.

In a second scenario, if there are no replacements in the team, it will be necessary to redistribute the absent person's tasks, which causes overload on the team and a drop in service quality.

Even if the sedentary person does not need to be absent, the productivity is still impaired. Remember if: no employee will perform as expected if they are not in full physical and psychological condition.

How to solve sedentary problems at work?

There are several measures that can be taken to avoid a sedentary lifestyle at work. Thus, the organization contributes to stimulate new habits in employees and take care of the team's health.

Below, check out the main actions that can be implemented to make employees more active.

1. Encourage use of the stairs

Simple actions can bring great results in relation to sedentary lifestyle at work. If the company's environments are divided by adjacent floors, encourage employees to move up the stairs.

It may seem insignificant, but going up and down the steps daily works your leg muscles, helps with weight control and increases endurance.

Even if the floors are far apart, it is still possible to take part of the stairway route and then continue by elevator.

2. Encourage the use of bicycles and public transport

Who lives close to work can go and come back by bike. To encourage this habit, have bathrooms with showers in the office for those who want to take a shower upon arrival.

Also install lockers so that these employees can store their backpacks with the clothes used on the move.

Another good way to reduce sedentary lifestyle at work is to campaign for use of public transport on the way. In this way, at least part of the journey will be done on foot, making employees more physically active.

In addition to the health gains, when using public transport or a bicycle, the employee also helps to To preserve the environment and still avoids the stress of chaotic traffic.

3. Have agreements with gyms

One of the best ways to avoid a sedentary lifestyle at work is to settle partnerships with gyms. If access to physical activity is cheap and close to home or work, employees will certainly be more likely to start this new habit.

To increase engagement, conduct a survey to find out what types of sports employees play or would like to play.

Based on the answers, it is possible to elaborate a Activities plan according to the needs of the employees and the company's budget.

4. Promote sporting groups

Another good initiative to avoid a sedentary lifestyle at work is to promote physical activities outside the office after work hours such as dance lessons and soccer games.

In addition to encouraging the practice of sports, it is also an excellent way to join the team and taking care of employees' mental health.

5. Offer work gymnastics

Activities inside the office are also very suitable to make employees more active and avoid sedentary lifestyle at work.

sessions of labor gymnastics, like stretching classes, they make the team move a little and come back more relaxed to continue the workday.

read more: How can workplace gymnastics in companies generate better business results?

6. Promote healthy eating

All these physical activity incentives must be accompanied by a program of healthy eating in the company.

Simple actions such as offering a fruit basket every afternoon help a lot to combat sedentary lifestyles at work, in addition to representing a highly relevant benefit.

If the company has its own cafeteria, even better. Build a healthy menu accompanied by a nutritionist teamin order to improve health and welfare of the entire team.

Campaigns in internal media they are a good measure to inform the team about the importance of being physically active and eating well.

Tips on smoking and sleep quality, for example, can also be included in these contents. Thus, the company contributes not only to reducing sedentary lifestyles at work, but to raising the level of health among employees as a whole.

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Now that you are aware of the risks of a sedentary lifestyle at work, how about putting what you learned into practice?

Make employees aware of the importance of exercise and take effective steps to make them more physically active. This way, you ensure that your team is always healthy and highly productive.

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