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encourage workers to move around the building depending on which environment is most appropriate for the task at hand.


A BIG DIFFERENCE Small changes such as removing bins and recycling areas from under desks, repositioning drinks dispensers and water coolers at a distance from workstations, will further promote worker movement. Placing printers and photocopiers away from desks will also contribute, as will policies to use stairs over elevators. You could also remove chairs from some meeting rooms and introduce standing meetings to give workplace gatherings a new feel.

HEALTH BENEFITS There is also a range of ways in

which activity can be promoted cost-effectively. For example, you can encourage employees to take a break in their day to use the local gym by offering discounts or partially subsidised memberships – often the gym will give discounts to your employees without you having to subsidise them.

Signing up for the Government’s ‘Cycle to Work’ initiative enables you to help your employees make savings of up to 42% on new bikes and equipment for cycling to work. To further encourage cycling, you could add a secure bike shed, changing rooms, shower facilities, lockers and even a communal toolbox.

encouraging movement. Areas that support teamwork and specific tasks also lure employees from their desks. Providing a range of activity- based environments will underline the fact that your desk doesn’t need to be the only place you work. In reality, most roles demand a diverse range of tasks, so why shouldn’t we have a choice of appropriate environments to complete them?

Providing areas such as quiet zones, collaboration spaces, café style hubs, focus booths, lounge areas and recreational environments will

Walking or running clubs can also be organised for employees in their breaks and incentives for those that regularly participate can be offered. If you have the space, or a free meeting room, encourage employees to organise and run classes for yoga or pilates, or invite experts to come in and run workshops.


CULTURE CHANGE Educating employees about the health issues related to sedentary lifestyles is a good place to begin when making cultural changes. Consider introducing more flexible and agile

working policies (and making sure they are properly communicated) to encourage your employees to move to the most appropriate work setting for the task at hand.

Break the cycle of “I’m working therefore I need to be sat at a desk”. Follow this up by introducing new methods of working such as walking or standing meetings, which are a great way to encourage movement. These can take place in the office (providing the space exists) around the perimeter of the building, on streets or in parks.

ACTIVE COMMUNICATION Making a few cultural changes

in terms of how employees communicate will certainly improve activity. A recent survey conducted by the British Heart Foundation and Get Britain Standing, it was found that 38% of workers confessed to emailing a colleague sat next to them. By banning all internal emails, employees will be forced to physically move to ask each other quick questions.

BREAK IT UP Getting employees to culturally

accept that regular breaks are not only permitted, but essential, is highly recommended. Encouraging senior members of staff to routinely take breaks using recreational spaces will encourage the acceptance of breaks and the use of designated areas as productive places to work.

You may also wish to consider barring eating at desks, or even the drinking of hot beverages. Whilst this may sound draconian it’s effective in making workers take regular breaks improving mobility, productivity, employee morale and interaction.

In conclusion, the consequences of sedentary lifestyles are alarming, and appear to affect a huge number of Britain’s workers. By adapting our workplaces, reassessing how we perceive ‘work’ and re-evaluating the ways in which it can be performed – Britain’s workforce can make a stand against inactivity. TOMORROW’S FM | 19

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