A recent study conducted by CV Library concluded that many professionals in Business are struggling to find a good balance between work and regular exercise. With many jobs at SME’s now involving sitting at a computer for much of the time, it is crucial to both the health of the company and its workforce that activeness in the workplace be encouraged.
What the Study Showed
The study, conducted in the United Kingdom, involved 1200 employees, the majority of which (81.5%), said that staying fit and active resulted in better performance at work. A significant 32%, however admitted that taking juggling regular exercise and a busy work life was a struggle. To put it this into perspective, sixteen million or so people in the United Kingdom, (that’s one quarter of the UK) do not exercise at all as reported in the HR Director.
Writing for the Huffington Post Stacia Pierce outlined the benefits employers enjoy from having a healthy workforce; fewer days off sick, better productivity and less stress are among the most significant.
The Importance of Physical Activity
Cycling to work is one way that employees and employers alike can help maintain fitness. Bike retailer Brompton are one of a raft of companies who are only too aware of this and that is part of the reason they developed their fold away bicycles that can be easily stored in the workplace. Other ways to promote physical fitness include encouraging employees to use the stairs as opposed to taking the elevator and offering standing desks is also an option.
Taking a Holistic Approach
Physical activity is widely recognised to be the best way of remaining healthy both inside and outside of the workplace, but there are a number of other factors to take into account. Pierce’s article also stresses the need to wash hands regularly and so actively discourage the spread of germs. She also highlights the benefits of taking regular breaks and while doing so, going outside for fresh air and sunshine.
Perhaps the most significant factor, after taking regular exercise, however, is the need for a healthy diet. Pierce advices “Plan out your meals for the week, including what you will eat for lunch. Then take time the night before to pack a healthy lunch for the next day. Make sure to include some lean protein, salad or fresh veggies, and fresh fruit for lasting energy with no afternoon slump.”
While the above-mentioned factors will help promote a healthy mind as well as a healthy body, when it comes to stress SME’s may be well advised to take a belt and braces approach. Recreational areas where employees can relax and have some fun are becoming more common in the workplace and have been proved to help stress levels among employees.
SME’s then need to encourage active bodies and minds if a fit and health workforce is the goal.