Pic­ture this: You are sit­ting at your desk at 3pm and you real­ize you haven’t got­ten up from your chair all day. You look around and see that you’ve been snack­ing instead of eat­ing a lunch. You have read the same sen­tence 4 times and still can’t fig­ure out what it means. Your back hurts, your eyes feel dry, and you feel kind of blah. You, my friend, are a vic­tim of the seden­tary lifestyle in Amer­i­ca. How can we com­bat this lack of ener­gy and inat­ten­tive­ness in our work­place? By adopt­ing healthy work­place ini­tia­tives, you will reap the ben­e­fits of a more engaged work­force and a health­i­er environment.

What’s the problem?

  • The aver­age work­er sits 5 hours at a desk every day
  • Add in couch time, sit­ting to eat meals, com­mute, and sleep­ing, and it could mean that the aver­age adult is only active for 3 hours in a 24-hour period
  • Pro­longed sit­ting is direct­ly relat­ed to high­er risk of heart dis­ease, weight gain, and diabetes
  • Poor pos­ture can lead to chron­ic health issues such as arthri­tis and bursitis
  • Star­ing at com­put­er screens for long amounts of time lead to high­er instances of headaches and migraines

What’s the solution?

  • Healthy snack options in vend­ing machines—Snack­Na­tion and Nature Box have healthy snack deliv­ery ser­vices for offices of all kinds and sizes.
  • Fit­ness challenges—Encourage dif­fer­ent office-wide chal­lenges to pro­mote a more active lifestyle. 
  • Stand­ing desks—Companies such as Varidesk make stand­ing desks or sit/stand desks that low­er and raise so that you vary your posi­tion dur­ing the day 
    • Reduces back pain
    • Burns more calo­ries dur­ing the day
    • Increas­es energy
    • Some insur­ance com­pa­nies will cov­er all or por­tion of the cost if they deem it “med­ical­ly necessary.”
  • Prac­tice grat­i­tude—keep a dai­ly log of things to be thank­ful for that day 
    • Shown to ease depres­sion, curb appetite, and enhance sleep
    • Spir­it of grate­ful­ness leads to more sus­tain­able hap­pi­ness because it’s not based on imme­di­ate grat­i­fi­ca­tion, it’s more of a state of mind
  • Get mov­ing dur­ing the day—if your office doesn’t have sit/stand desks, sched­ule time to move each day 
    • Stretch time/desk yoga
    • Com­put­er pro­grams to remind you to move such as “Move” for iOS and “Big Stretch Reminder” for Windows
  • Extra hap­pi­ness in the office— 
    • Add a plant
    • Aro­mather­a­py
    • Host a cook­ing class to encour­age healthy meal plans
    • Pet-friend­ly office days

By show­ing your employ­ees that you care about their phys­i­cal and men­tal health you are show­ing that you care about them as peo­ple and not just employ­ees. This results in high­er moti­vat­ed staff who are health­i­er. The Har­vard Busi­ness Review even says that “employ­ers who invest­ed in health and well­ness ini­tia­tives saw $6 in health­care sav­ings for every $1 invest­ed.” You can­not always mea­sure ROI on per­son­nel invest­ment but it looks like for work­place well­ness, you can! Now get mov­ing and get your office moving!