The 3 benefits of using a standing desk at work

By Tom Bosna – Managing Director

 

When the phrase “sitting is the new smoking” was first referenced in the media it created absolute pandemonium in our Corporate Wellness Centres!

I remember many of our clients attending their Physiotherapy or Myotherapy appointments with sore necks and lower backs wanting quick answers. Our staff were inundated with requests for ergonomic advice, and opinions on the latest craze of the year – standing desks!

“Tom, I watched the news and apparently sitting is the new smoking. My work colleague has a sore back and ordered a standing desk – do you think I need one?” This conversation was had on repeat and continues today.

With influence by reputable employers like Apple endorsing standing desks they really could be onto something. The CEO of Apple Tim Cook has recently commented in an interview about Apple Park “We have given all of our employees, 100%, standing desks. If you can stand for a while, then sit, and so on and so forth, it’s much better for your lifestyle.” Before we take Mr Cook’s word for it – let’s analyse the facts.

The facts

In 2016, Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) ranked 7th on the list of top drivers of global disability. Among those aged 15–49, the top contributors to MSDs included occupational injuries and ergonomic issues in the workplace (HME, 2015).

The impact of these MSDs on productivity, presenteeism and lost time are well documented in occupational health.

With increased demand for knowledge workers influencing workplaces across the world – it is essential that the health of employees is prioritised.

Why does sitting cause lower back pain?

Contrary to the alarmists in the media, and health professionals who have enjoyed their time in the sun on this topic – let me say one thing: there is nothing wrong with sitting.

We sit to enjoy a cup of tea with friends, we sit and watch our children run at the park, we sit down at a nice restaurant and enjoy a glass of wine. Sitting is part of everyday life.

Two words I want you to understand and be aware of: Ischaemic. Pain.

Ischaemic. If I was a gambling man, I bet five dollars that you have heard the word ischaemic heart disease. Ischaemic by definition refers to the deficiency of blood supply to a body part due to the obstruction of inflow of arterial blood. A practical example of this is when you sit at your desk for too long during the day and you feel your lower back tensing and becoming sore. This can be a restriction in blood flow to that area of your body. You stand up, go for a walk and the tension is relieved, and goes away.

Pain. By cognitive association you are no doubt thinking about the last time you hurt a body part. Say the word pain ten times and it sounds like it hurts. The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) defines pain as an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience, associated with actual or potential tissue damage.

A practical example of pain is when you sit at the desk for over 2 hours. You feel your lower back tense and it becomes sore. You feel frustrated, worried and angry that your back is sore. You get up to move but you are still sore. You are ‘so busy’ and take Nurofen to make it better. You return to sitting at your desk and the pain cycle continues.

If you marry ischemic and pain together you are probably sitting on the problem!

Have a look at your colleagues sitting at their desk. Are they stooped forward at their head and neck? Are they hunched over at their mid spine and look tired?

These positions not only look emotionally sad, but they are problematic – especially when held for a prolonged period of time. Blood flow is restricted, movement is stagnant and you not only feel pain, but you can feel trapped in a vicious cycle of inactivity, and struggle to get comfortable.

The rise of the standing desk

I’m sure you have that colleague that plays up and down with the sit stand desk all day. I bet they even count steps on their fitbit, do crossfit and are always up for a chat about how many mindful moments they have completed this week.  

They are so ridiculously happy with themselves aren’t they?

Cutting through this though – in my opinion – the main benefits of using a standing desk or active workstations are very logical.

Productivity  Standing up demands a happier, and more engaged posture. Increased alertness and engagement nets greater productivity than sitting. Simple.

Increased energy levels Standing up will cumulatively improve mood, and will result in greater energy output over time.

Reduce cardiovascular risk One of the risk factors for cardiovascular disease is circumference of the waist. Standing up results in greater oxygen uptake of the employee and more incidental movement. These factors combined can reduce your cardiovascular risk profile.

So should you get a standing desk?

With small and large organisations making significant investment into active workstations, break out spaces and ergonomic furnishings – this is the time to ‘stand up’, and invest in you.

Tom is the Director of Pinnacle Health Group Australia & Movement Concept Advisor for the International WELL Building standards Institute.

Are you practising wellness in the workplace?

Wellness in the workplace is crucial in establishing a productive and dynamic environment. At Pinnacle Health Group, we aim to inspire a healthier workplace by encouraging busy Australians to take control of their health and wellbeing.

From encouraging more standing time in the office to practicing weekly meditation, our wellness experts can guide your team or organisation on wellbeing options you can implement in the workplace today. For more information, fill out our workplace wellness enquiry form and one of our experts will be happy to assist you further.

Founder well-being: Check your health, before you wreck yourself!

This is a public service announcement for founders and the startup community.

Let’s be real about the treacherous lifestyle you have chosen. It is a roller coaster, one with many big dips, ups and loop the loop moments. Your friends and family think you are insane but you secretly love it. You know the startup grind requires courage, decisiveness and endurance.

Do you think you’re ready for the physicality of the startup grind?

Let me elaborate with a story about my mate Joe, an amazing entrepreneur from Melbourne.

Joe is a larger than life personality by nature, very likable and an extremely confident networker. Over the period of twelve months he successfully launched a health technology platform to the market and as any entrepreneur would do, he drove sales and joint ventures quickly.

Joe set the pace of the business and in year two his team grew very rapidly. Running on enthusiasm, adrenaline and excitement Joe started to find it a little difficult to switch off and get enough sleep. But there was no time for rest, exercise or time zone adjustments as he expanded into Singapore where he spent three months raising funds, networking and leading product expansion.

Joe’s friends and family were so happy for him, he was an overnight success until one night the fast-paced lifestyle had caught up with him. After an intensive Asian banquet for dinner and a few beers, he suddenly felt dizzy, had severe chest pain, headache and serious stomach pain.  Joe was instantly scared and worried.

Was it the dumplings, beers or a heart attack?

Let’s talk about three key components of well-being that Joe has neglected.

Don’t Forget to Fuel the Fire

An internal fire burns inside the heart of an entrepreneur like Joe.

It burns, it burns and then it runs out. What I failed to mention was that Joe was living on a diet of long macchiatos and espressos during business meetings (at least four a day). For dinner, uber eats was too convenient, not to mention pizza deliveries and coke zero for all-nighters with the team!

With so much caffeine and fast food fuelling his lifestyle, Joe was literally running on empty and the stomach pain was the symptom of a greater issue, his diet.

To the startup community I highly recommend consuming at least three glasses of water for every coffee you consume. Coffee in any shape or form is a stimulant, anti-diuretic and acts on the central nervous system to increase alertness.  Combining high stress work with caffeine and foods high in sodium, carbohydrates and fat will result in weight gain, sluggishness and decrease your performance. If you are a go-getter and want to excel like Joe, you want to consume foods rich in protein and low glycaemic index (GI).

Low GI foods can improve your ability to concentrate, sustain energy and make you feel fuller for longer – curbing the carbohydrate cravings such as pizza. Pick the right fuel for your engine.

No rest for the wicked

Founders are not immune to sleepless nights, feeling worried and working long hours. The founder lifestyle typically demands plenty of travel, early morning starts and late-night finishes, sleep becomes a liability.

In the case of Joe, his sleeping patterns became erratic. Over time, his sleeping pattern got so bad that four hours a night was considered the norm! Sleep can affect every part of your life. Your mood, energy and even your weight can all be influenced by the amount of sleep you achieve.

For founders, committing to healthy sleeping habits such as going to bed and waking at a consistent time is essential. Seven to nine hours minimum a night for healthy adults is required to perform well. Stay wicked but make sure you rest!

High intensity lifestyles require physical resilience

With less than ideal amounts of sleep and terrible food habits – Joe did not feel up for exercise. Prior to launching his business, he was an F45 member and attended six times a week. It was cult-like! His preference for fitness was high intensity and variety was important. But with the success of his business and growing travel requirements, even getting out for a short run became difficult.

Founders, please know one thing, the more physically active you are the greater your ability to think and create. If time is your excuse, then do a short burst of high intensity exercise for fifteen minutes daily. Being a brilliant entrepreneur requires creativity and resilience. Physical fitness will aid and improve these two areas dramatically.

Summary

Founders, you have chosen a difficult and challenging lifestyle. Fuelling, resting and staying fit will enhance your performance and help you achieve your dreams. Don’t be like Joe and burn out over dumplings and beers you are better than that!

Live the founder lifestyle with Pinnacle Health Group

Being a founder means committing to your own way of doing things. But you’ve got to be healthy to do it. Be a leader that pushes for better by making sure you’re making wellness and health a part of what you’re building by reaching out to Pinnacle Health Group today.

You can get in touch with the team at hello@pinnaclehealthgroup.com.au or call 1300 2 PINNACLE today.

Are you an active couch potato?

Active couch potato
By Tom Bosna – Managing Director

It is no secret, sitting for prolonged periods is NOT good for us.

With phrases like ‘sitting is the new smoking’ being used in the media, it’s important to really understand the key issues and be able to make informed decisions about how to look after ourselves in the workplace.

In 2015, I wrote a small article: 3 easy ways to create movement opportunities at work. At that point in time, there were new research findings coming from the University of Queensland that had caught my attention. According to their study into the effects of sitting for prolonged periods, even when adults met the recommended physical activity guidelines, the positive effects of that exercise were often negated by the amount of time they spent sitting.

In other words. If you enjoy a High Intensity Training (HIT) session three times a week at the gym but go back to work and sit like a desk jockey for the remaining 40 hours of the week. You are potentially sitting in the active couch potato seat and are not capitalising on incidental movement opportunities in the workplace.

In 2018, the research continues to show sedentary behaviours are strongly linked to negative health outcomes such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular, metabolic risks and premature death. The fact that all of the above are preventable is what is really concerning to me!

Based on my research and key learnings from the WELL Building standards study & Movement concept advisory I recommend three easy solutions to avoiding becoming an active couch potato.

Workplace Design

The future of work is technology enabled, hyper connected and agile in design. Gone are the days where you sit in the same desk every day and sit in meetings all day.

Modern workplaces are designed for movement. To help you figure out how your workplace stacks up, consider these questions:

  1. Are your locker, printer and meeting rooms all a walk from where you spend the majority of the day?
  2. Does the workplace have a wellness or fitness centre with exclusive deals for staff?
  3. Are standing desks or active workstations available in break out areas?

If you said yes to all of the above – you are in a well workplace. The key question is are you making the most of the design?

Plan your work, work your plan

As an astute observer of human behaviour and neuroscience enthusiast, it really bothers me when I see people walking with their phones glued to their hand in the early morning. I can see the phone lighting up like a Christmas tree with rapid push notifications jumping out of the screen. When you observe this happening it really looks like a wave of anxiety and I worry for the person’s brain and performance.

To address getting past this roadblock I believe that planning your work, and working your plan is essential. That means be diligent with your time management and working hard to avoid having your time and attention sapped by unnecessary distractions.

Encourage your people to get moving

Movement is great for your performance, mental health and resilience. If it was a pill everyone would be doing it! At Pinnacle Health Group, our teams utilise the walking meeting, pilates hour or exercise club to keep performance and morale high. This type of team activity is planned and organised to get the teams together once a week.

For anyone interested in learning about the neuroscience at work I’d highly recommend the book titled “Your brain at work” by David Rock. It is for those of you who are interested in surviving and thriving in the modern workplace.

You have to take the stairs

A wise person once said, there is no elevator to success – you have to take the stairs. You will see it every morning, there are people who take the escalator and those that take the stairs.

Choose the latter every time and this will improve your incidental movement output significantly.

In the modern workplace and cities of the future, active exterior design is critical to influencing physical engagement levels of the community. A nice practical resource on this topic is the walk score.

Summary

Movement is medicine for the mind and body with tangible returns on investment!

We spend 90% of our time indoors and one third of our lives at work. The great opportunity here is incidental movement. – make the most of your time.

Learn more with Pinnacle Health Group

Sometimes all it takes is a reminder, but other times I’ve found that making a change takes effort. If you think that the organisation you work for could use some help inspiring your people to get moving more throughout the day, you can get started by filling out a wellness enquiry form today.

Why the CEO Should Be the Most Physically Active in the Company

By Tom Bosna – Managing Director

Over the past year I have had the pleasure of working with some truly inspiring CEOs and senior leaders in progressive and innovative Australian businesses.

I’ve been blown away by the commitment to wellbeing that I’ve seen. Being leaders in their company, the example that each of these individuals are setting for their people has made a very real impression on me.

Firstly, for the fact that they are investing the time in energy in bettering the lives of their workers. But also, that they are each treating wellness as more than just a people strategy. It has been so encouraging to see leaders take a real interest in creating a culture that cares and creates healthier individuals.

One of the biggest trends I have noted in my experience is that when the CEO and senior leaders are physically active – they statistically have a more engaged workplace and healthier company profile.

While the benefits of being physically active are pretty clear as mentioned in my previously articles – reduced risk of stroke, cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, obesity, depression and some forms of cancer. The benefits of having a physically fit and active CEO and senior leadership team are ground-breaking. In practical terms, the ripple effect on the entire organisation is positively linked with great performance and engagement. So, let’s dive in…

 

3 reasons senior leaders should be the most physically active in the organisation

 

Performance Perks

The organisations that had physically active leaders have been found to be more satisfied with their own performance as a team. With a leader that exercised at least five times a week for over 30 mins at moderate exertion, researchers noticed that employees worked smarter and had reduced rates of absenteeism compared to the less active teams.

In my opinion, if the CEO is physically active and is able to discuss the benefits openly in conversation, the entire organisation can benefit. The physical, social and psychological pillars of the organisation can all be positively influenced by the example that an active CEO can set. From a performance perspective, active CEO’s enjoy greater performance across the wider group with case studies revealing higher workforce resilience scores compared to inactive CEO cohorts.

 

Psychological Safety

One of the greatest tasks of the CEO is to create an environment where employees feel psychologically safe. Whilst, the usual focus here is on mental health, I’d like to divert to talk about creating a culture of individual empowerment.

In my dealings, the more physically active CEOs and senior teams have had a much healthier approach to work. Giving their people the freedom to self-manage their workload and leaving space for more flexible working arrangements. Physically active CEO’s seem to trust their workers more, helping to create a culture of psychological safety. We have seen this phenomenon in our corporate wellness centres where staff can access our wellness services whilst at work. Whether that be a Yoga class, a Physiotherapy appointment or a skin check – all is encouraged in a safe culture of wellbeing.

 

Wellbeing champions – the ripple effect

In my consulting work, I have seen CEO’s with teams ranging in size from 50 all the way through to 5000 who have built physical activity into the culture. In one organisation, the core values were created with wellbeing being a key focus – and the subtext being – ‘be the change you want to see’ – how remarkable is that!

With physical fitness being a key pillar for this organisation, organically the CEO and senior leaders have created a culture of wellbeing champions.

One senior leader reported that in their team a team manager of 300 organically started a running group for the Melbourne half marathon. The leader noticed his team drinking too much coffee and sitting for too long and was fed up! The team manager had lost a significant amount of weight in the companies group fitness challenge two years prior and had wanted the team to feel the benefits they had experienced themselves.

Creating wellbeing champions is the mecca of all wellbeing strategy and engagement. The CEO’s who are physically active create a ripple effect of influence and it is embedded into the company culture.

 

The take home!

Physically active CEOs and leaders are high impact individuals, their teams perform better and they create a legacy of wellbeing champions. Get moving, lead from the front and enjoy the ripple effect.

 

Lead from the front – with the help of the Pinnacle Health Group

Creating a workplace culture that encourages the best in everyone doesn’t have to be a battle – not when you commit to leading from the front. If you are interested in learning more about what we do at Pinnacle Health Group to help companies like yours encourage wellness in their people, get in touch by filling out a wellness enquiry form today.

An Introduction To Wellness Leave

Healthy nutrition
By Tom Bosna – Managing Director

 

3 reasons why wellness leave was introduced at Pinnacle Health Group (and why your business should too!)

It all started with a big leadership question: How am I supporting the wellbeing of our people?

What led to this question was more interesting.

As a small business owner, a thick skin is required to deal with the magnitude of stress that is part of the deal when operating a growing business.

In 2015, our business Pinnacle Health Group doubled in staff, locations and launched interstate. The rhythm of business at this point in time can be best described as manic.

Keeping up with the demands of running Pinnacle Health Group in start-up mode for a number of years was starting to take its toll on my physical and mental health. Like most men, the way I would deal with it was to internalise the stress and put the head down and keep going.

Eventually, I found the time for a breather, and with my young family we booked a one-week holiday to Perth for some sun, relaxation and family time. But with so much activity still going on in the workplace, I really struggled to switch off mentally.

When I finally managed to put some daylight between myself and work, my body shut down and I found myself suffering from physical symptoms of exhaustion and burnout.

On this holiday, I spent an embarrassing four out of six days in and out of bed unwell with health issues relating to stress. The guilt of my family time being disrupted by work was real.

I realised at that point that I was burning out and that I’d neglected my own health over the last two years.

I thought to myself, if I am feeling like this way, how do our people feel?

More confronting for me was the question I asked myself. What am I specifically doing to support the wellbeing of our people?

A few months later as we geared up for another year at Pinnacle Health Group, this leadership question led to our employee wellbeing program Pinnacle Life being revamped and re-positioned for our people.

Led by our People and Operations Leader Emma Dwan, we took a methodical approach to influencing a positive change for our people.

We started by interviewing our people and collecting data. One of the most eye opening statistics was that 41% have felt stressed or overwhelmed at work in the previous 3 months. This statistic really bothered me.

 

So what is wellness leave?

Wellness leave is time taken away from work to hit the reset button and engage in some self-care. At Pinnacle Health Group, we proactively encourage our employees to take one day off per quarter to engage in activity that supports their wellbeing.

We envisaged our team having a sleep in, reflecting, doing an exercise class, reading a book or socialising with friends. Key to the whole process has been giving our people the space to choose their own adventure!

When it comes to talking about exactly why we’ve introduced wellness leave at Pinnacle Health Group – there are three big reasons.

 

Prevention is better than a cure

By sharing my personal story internally and hosting company wide meetings – we were able to introduce and encourage prevention. My personal story opened up dialogue internally about self care and mental health. This open dialogue helped give context to what we were striving to achieve and gave our policies and efforts toward preventative personal wellbeing a structure.
 

For the fun of it

Life is about enjoyment and sometimes we get lost in the busy-ness trap until that one dedicated holiday a year. By encouraging extra time away from work, we are really encouraging our team members to do something fun for themselves.

One of our team members said “Wellbeing leave was my favourite day of the year so far! It is so nice to have a day off when the rest of the world is working. I went to a morning gym class, met my bestie for coffee to celebrate her birthday. We talked for hours! The best part was being able to spend a lifetime in the shower and over lunch with no pressure to rush or be anywhere. In the early afternoon I took a drive down the Peninsula and went to a superb winery to finish off the day in style. This day was amazing, giving me the opportunity to relax, refresh and really unwind”

Another team member said “For my wellbeing leave I was able to get a light gym session done in the morning. Caught up on some admin and did some reading which is usually rare but seems more consistent since that day. The day also gave me time to think and reflect and I spoke to my uprise coach at the end of the day. The introduction of these days I’m sure has been welcomed companywide.”
 

To inspire our people and those around us

Our core purpose at Pinnacle Health Group is to inspire health changes in people and the workplace. We love what we do 100%, but sometimes the sheer volume of clients can lead to empathy fatigue and burnout.

For health professionals sometimes we are listening and consulting over 60 people a week. It simply wouldn’t make sense to work this hard to help others, only to fail to live up to our own advice and let our own health be compromised.

By establishing wellness leave as part of how we do things at Pinnacle Health Group, we have created some time for our people to do something fun, inspiring and remembering their why. In short, to inspire others, it is important to be inspired.
 

Summary

In 12 months, we have successfully had 73% of our team members take wellness leave. Absenteeism figures have dropped by a whopping 51% compared to the prior year.

I’d highly encourage your workplace to review HR policies relating to employee wellbeing.

Ask yourself, what can be done to support your people?

Before you do that – open up the dialogue with your people. Develop a picture of where your organisation is at – like we did. And figure out how you’re going to track your success with the implementation of a wellness leave policy.

Wellness leave has become part of our culture at Pinnacle Health Group and this is only one initiative of our integrated wellness program Pinnacle Life.

If you are interested in learning more about Pinnacle Life please get in touch at hello@pinnaclehealthgroup.com.au or call 1300 2 PINNACLE today.

6 Tips for the Corporate Runner : The Balancing Act

Young woman runner with earphones in city, using smartwatch.

Now more than ever the ability to maintain the desirable work: life balance is becoming increasing difficult. Finding enough time in the busy schedule to complete our necessary (physical and psychological) exercise is tough. 

Below are a few tips to help you maximise your training time and help you stay injury free.

 

Planning the week in advance

It doesn’t matter whether you are training for a specific event or you are simply the weekend warrior who likes to go out for a few social runs during the week; the importance of planning your week is paramount.

I prefer to plan my week out on a Sunday night (it symbolises the beginning of the working week for me). Open up the smartphone calendar and put those diary entries in – locked in times that are non-negotiable. This is particularly helpful if you are running with a workmate in lunchtime – send a calendar invite so you can both dedicate the time to hitting the running circuit. 

 

Keep the system ‘moving and grooving’

As has become the case with modern society, so much of our time is spent sitting on our backsides at a desk, in the car, on a train, etc. This is no more prevalent than with corporate runners who spend 8-10+ hours sitting at desks during the day. 

Tightness through the hip flexors and associated restriction in hip extension is a very common problem with running gait. Proper hip function, in particular hip extension, is a critical element of running gait (this is too large a topic to discuss here!) and therefore tightness through the hip flexors, which limits normal hip extension, needs to be prevented. 

To help avoid tightness through the front of the hips and improve flexibility, get up from your desk every 90 minutes, walk to fill up your water bottle, go to the toilet. Above all, make sure you are moving those legs, stretching out the tightness that comes with prolonged seated posture. 

If possible, attempt a few tasks throughout the day while standing up – try holding an informal meeting with your colleague while standing instead of sitting. 

 

Substitute for H2O

It’s so easy to get caught up in your busy schedule at the office and forget a really important element of the running toolkit – consuming enough water. 

By simply placing a water bottle at your desk you can continue to sip of the precious H2O throughout the day and ensure you are ready to tackle the run fully hydrated. 

 

Be prepared to let it go

Things can change in the blink of an eye and this is none more evident than in the corporate world. Re-scheduled meetings or deadlines and hastily arranged business trips can impact on our event training plans.

It is normal to miss a session or two during a training program – what we mustn’t do is go chasing the one that got away! If for whatever reason we miss a recovery run or a mid-week long run occasionally that’s ok, don’t go out and try to fit in an extra run on top of another run later in the week. Overloading by adding in extra sessions is likely to lead to injury – resulting in even more missed sessions!

 

Buddy up

Finding the motivation or energy to go for that midday/lunchtime run is much easier when you have a running buddy to push you through. We are much more likely to stick to what we set out to do if there is someone there to motivate/push us through all those painful moments.

 

Cool down

So often forgotten when thinking about our running is the important aspect of cooling down – particularly when running during lunchtime or before/after work. We finish our run and step back into the office and before you know it the time has escaped you and you haven’t properly cool down.

Before you head back into the office – dedicate 5 mins after your run to stretch outdoors. This will save you from getting distracted from work related issue and potentially forgetting to stretch and cool down. 

 

5 reasons to start an “Exercise Club” at work

We all know that we “should” exercise daily. But the reality is…life gets in the way.

Realistically we are a time-poor generation and being “too busy” to exercise is often a legitimate excuse. However, we are also VERY good at making exercise our last priority. There are weeks when our workload, family time and “life admin” are out of control and we literally don’t have a spare second. But there are also weeks where sitting on the couch scrolling through social media, or that wine catch up with a friend is far more appealing than getting sweaty and having to actually motivate ourselves to physically move our bodies.

Over a year ago, we started “Exercise Club” here at PHG Docklands. Being a bunch of health professionals, most of us are exercise fanatics but we are also human and for us too, life gets in the way. To counteract that, we decided to practice what we preach and really be the leaders in driving workplace wellness.

Here is a sneak peak at how we built “Exercise Club” into our workplace and why it was the best decision we have ever made.

 

What we do?

Every Tuesday and Thursday from 3-4pm our diaries are blocked for “Exercise Club”. We put on our exercise gear and do a solid 40 minutes of simple, body weight exercise. It varies from pilates, strength training, sprinting, conditioning, yoga, high intensity interval training…even stretching.

We have a quick 10 minute shower before getting back to treating clients for the rest of the day.

After… we feel on top of the world!

 

Why?

  1. It improves culture and team spirit. Since starting exercise club we have seen a massive rise in the sense of community and culture within our team. It allows us to connect on a personal level and also just have fun. Because we have varied lunch breaks and see clients all day, we rarely get to talk about non-work related ‘stuff’. This has resulted in increased communication and work-ethic in professional team activities too. Win – win.
  2. It improves productivity. The government issued guidelines via NICE in 2015 on how promoting a wellness in the workplace is “good management and leads to healthy and productive workplaces”. Further research has shown that workers who spent 30-60 minutes at lunch exercising reported an average performance boost of 25 percent. Sixty percent of employees said their time management skills, mental performance and ability to meet deadlines improved on the days they exercised. We definitely agree with the research and have also noticed; improved concentration, enhanced creativity, faster learning and more importantly lower stress.
  3. It will improve your heart and overall physical health “Sitting is the new smoking” With the emergence of research around the dangers of sitting, we are beginning to understand the multiple work-related musculoskeletal disorders and health concerns it can lead to…heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, depression. Research suggests that nearly 70 percent of Australian adults do not get the recommended out of regular exercise each week (2.5 hours of moderate aerobic activity or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous activity). This proves that creating a culture of regular exercise is a critical to ensuring your employees are physically well.
  4. It will improve mental health. Just like our physical health, we all need to make time look after our mental health. It’s important to remember that physical activity not only improves the body’s ability to move but also clears the mind and works the brain. Exercise and regular activity also happen to be one of the best management strategies for overstressed-workers. We are all aware that healthier employees are happier, work harder, help their team-mates and are more efficient. Since starting exercise club we have also noticed an impressive increase in employee engagement and workplace satisfaction. So although it seems like physical activity would tire you out, it actually leads to a happier more energetic YOU.
  5. Exercise saves your business money in the long run. Each year, more than a million working people in the Australia experience a work-related illness that costs the economy over 20 million dollars year. Healthier staff means fewer absences due to illness. Which in turn will increase culture, trust, productivity…the list goes on.

 

Should you do it too?…YES!

Exercise in the workplace isn’t a new idea but it’s such a clear win-win in terms of health, morale and productivity and so I think it deserves to be put in the spotlight once more.  Why stay at your desk feeling tired, frustrated, sleepy, less productive, more likely to develop serious health problems and gain weight when you could spend 30-40 minutes working out with your colleagues and reduce all of these risks. Here at PHG, we are a prime example of how you don’t need to install an in-house gym for your team. A little space, commitment from your team and willingness to embrace some sweat is all you need.

After all, we spend 60%+ of our day often at work, we all should try to make it a healthier, happier, WELL place.  So grab some colleagues, make it a commitment, lock it in to your diary and go for gold!  Let us know how you do. If you’re interested in starting up a workplace wellness program and would like some assistance, don’t hesitate to give us a call.

 

Clodagh is a Clinical Services Manager and Physiotherapist at PHG Docklands.