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COVER STORY


STEP UP THE GAME


Here, AJ Products and ukactive investigate how to tackle sedentary behaviour in the workforce.


The COVID-19 pandemic has shed new light on an already critical aspect of working life: that of employee health and wellbeing. While awareness of the dangers of sedentary working was already increasing, these unprecedented times underline the importance of companies taking a more comprehensive approach to support the physical and mental wellbeing of their workers by providing guidance and resources to protect staff, both on site and working from home.


AJ Products UK and ukactive teamed up on a report to examine the impact of working practices on employee health and wellbeing. Tackling sedentary behaviour in the workforce is a comprehensive study into the state of workplace health that looks at the risks associated with long hours spent in sedentary positions at work, whether that work is office-based or remote, and what can be done to improve activity levels among the working population. The report investigates how our office spaces must change as well as what companies can do to support remote workers and ensure wellbeing practices are sustained away from the physical workplace.


Work stress and negative health outcomes associated with sedentary behaviour have reached substantial proportions within western industrialised societies at great cost to businesses as well as employees. However, simple measures such as equipping offices and homes with better furniture and encouraging employees to increase their physical activity levels can mitigate the negative health effects associated with sedentary behaviour during the workday.


32 | TOMORROW’S FM


Interventions around workplace design, such as providing sit-stand desks, laying out the office in activity-based zones or centralising printers and waste bins, have been shown to reduce sitting time by as much as 40 minutes over an eight-hour work day, translating to an 8% reduction in total sitting time. Other evidence shows that taking multiple standing breaks or engaging in some physical movement throughout the day can be more beneficial than doing moderate to vigorous activity for a singular set amount of time.


“Evidence shows that taking multiple standing breaks or engaging in some physical


movement throughout the day can be more beneficial than doing


moderate to vigorous activity for a singular set amount of time.”


Office design can also have a significant impact on mental health as well as productivity levels. Even the simplest changes in sound levels, natural light and air quality have been shown to have a substantial impact on productivity. With more and more employees working remotely, it is


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