Employers would be daft not to invest in the health and well-being of its biggest asset – its people. The cost to employers of absenteeism through illness is staggering, not just in sickness payments, but in lost revenue through less productivity, decreased employee engagement levels, not to mention the inconvenience of having to arrange cover for the post.
However, it doesn’t mean huge financial layouts to promote a healthier, fitter workforce. Given the amount of time people spend at work, and especially those tied to their desks, it makes sense for employers to think about the opportunities for increasing physical activity in and around the workplace. A more active workforce brings lots of benefits to both your people and your organisation. All you have to do is get them moving.
Let’s take a look at the cheapest and simplest way to get active – walking.
Ok, so it’s not a particularly flashy form of exercise, but it sure is something that almost everyone can do, and does, regardless of fitness levels.
Walking in it-self has huge health benefits if done on a regular basis. Walking can help tackle Type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, boosts your immune system, helps maintain a healthy weight, cope with asthma, recover from a stroke and deal with some cancers. Powerful isn’t it?
The NHS ‘Walking for health’ has some great tips for everybody, and some clear and simple ideas that all employers can take on board.
So, firstly, send out a message to all employees that you, as an employer, are interested in the health and well-being of your people, and let them know why, not just for the organisation’s sake, but for them too. Sure, the work still needs to get done, but overall and ultimately, it’s going to benefit everyone all round. Then, take a look at these ideas and see if it is something your organisation can do:-
1. Encourage everyone to take a 5 minute walk before sitting down to deal with the e-mail ‘inbox’, next piece of work, grabbing that coffee or sandwich, or that meeting everyone has been summoned to.
2. Suggest standing up and walking on the spot whilst taking a phone call (not too fast, an out of breath conversation could come across as inappropriate!), or whilst reading the latest newsletter or report.
3. Organise a lunchtime colleague walk date, perhaps in two sessions so that everyone has the chance to participate and ensure service provision and coverage is not lost.
4. Explain why the stairs are a lot friendlier than the lift.
5. Sort out a separate parking area for employees, so that those who drive into work park a little further away and walk into work in the morning, and back to their cars at the end of the working day. It’s a great way to reduce your carbon footprint too.
6. How about meetings whilst walking? Some organisations have their meetings standing up; as it gets the business done quicker, perhaps walking ones can too? Make sure you set a time limit, stick to it, and off you go….
7. Allow your people to take a 10 / 15 minute walking break. It’s amazing just how much more focused and productive you are after time away from what you were doing.
8. If your budget allows, why not get everyone a pedometer? Not only will this show you are serious about the health and well-being of your people, but it’s a great way of getting some healthy competitive spirit and energy stirred amongst your workforce.
Go for a walk and think about it!
The Survey Initiative is an award winning organisation with over 18 years expert experience in the field of employee research. We are passionate about what we do; we’re passionate about our own people. If you would like more information about how we can help your organisation with employee engagement or any other employee research aspect, pick up the phone or contact us online.