Engage employees with healthy habits

You might not want to sit down for this. A new study warns that sitting for prolong periods – even with exercise – is extremely hazardous to our health.
Sure, new health studies are released almost daily, but this one hits close to home. Most jobs in America require us to sit and work on computers day after day, and that will not change.
Some even believe that excessive sitting will be the basis for future Occupational and Safety and Health Administration complaints and possibly even workplace litigation, according to an article in Inc. Magazine. That is something companies can’t afford to ignore.
And healthy employees are productive employees. An Australian study found that “the healthiest employees are nearly three times more productive while at work than the least healthy – 140 working hours per month versus 45 effective hours worked per month.”
Healthy employees can save your company money, so why not start incorporating healthy habits in the workplace?
Even if you are not in a position to launch a comprehensive wellness program at work, there are small steps you can take to help promote wellness. Keep in mind that as a manager, you serve as an example to your employees. For instance, if you stay at your desk for eight hours a day with minimal breaks, your direct reports will most likely do the same.
The key is to lessen the long, uninterrupted times spent sitting. Here are some ideas to get you and your employees up and moving:
Encourage breaks. Sometimes it is difficult to take a break during the workday, especially when battling deadlines and client demands. Still, when possible you should interrupt your sitting habits. Try to get up and move every 30 minutes.
Walk, don’t sit during meetings. Instead of calling a meeting in the conference room, try to go for a walk outside if the weather is nice. Not only does this get you out of a chair, walking meetings is great way to energize your workday.
Use a treadmill or standing desk. It sounds odd, but you can exercise at your desk. A treadmill desk allows one to walk on the treadmill while performing work duties, although it can be a pricey investment (anywhere from $500 to $4,500).  Another option is the standing desk where if your desk is adjustable you can set the desk to standard height and stand while you work. You might get some weird looks at first, but soon enough your employees might hike their desks up as well.
These are small initiatives, but it could go a long way in helping employees stay healthy and engaged.
What advice do you have for breaking the sitting habit? After you leave us a comment, get up and move around!
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