How we work has changed dramatically over the last decade. The average worker now spends over 90,000 hours at work, doing jobs which are more sedentary than ever. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults aged 18 years and older were overweight. Of these, over 650 million adults were obese. Furthermore, the WHO estimates that globally over 300 million people are affected by depression, predicting that by 2021 occupational stress will be the leading cause of absenteeism and presenteeism at work.
Initiatives like the National Workplace Wellbeing Day, which takes place on Friday 13th of April 2018 are fundamental in raising awareness of these health challenges. Now in its fourth year running the Irish initiative is becoming increasingly well supported, promoting healthy workplaces and employee wellbeing in organisations of all sizes. Whether an organisation has a formal wellbeing strategy in place or not, this day should be a pillar event in the calendar.
The core event which is driven by the organisers is the Lunchtime Mile – walk, run or cycle. This event has potential to become a regular fixture in every organisation, it is inclusive for people of all abilities and is aimed towards developing sustainable healthy behaviours and contribute to recommended daily exercise. While an organisation might offer other activities on the day, the Lunchtime Mile should be a standard inclusion for every business.
If you are looking for something outside the box here’s a few Wrkit tried and tested ideas.
- 11am desk work out: a five-minute fixture which accommodates everyone. Pick five exercises which take minimal space and use only body weight – desk triceps dips; desk push-ups; star jumps; lunges; squats; wall-sits; calf raises; knee lifts; punching etc. At 11am encourage everyone in the organisation to complete each exercise for a minute (allowing people to chose variations to suit their own abilities). It’s important to identify “leaders” to drive participation and give exercise examples.
- On the hour exercise challenge: studies have shown that sitting for extended periods of time can have a negative impact on over-all health, contributing to obesity and related disease. The Start Active, Stay Active report published by the British Department of Health, Physical Activity, Health Improvement and Protection, suggests breaking up long periods of sitting with short bouts of activity for just one or two minutes. Get the team moving with wall sits, planks, sit-ups or an exercise of their choice for 1 minute every hour.
- Health food bake off: when it comes to weight loss, diet accounts for 75% while exercise 25%. Have a healthy bake off on April 13th and use it is an opportunity to educate people about food. Request participants to share details of ingredients, why they are healthy and provide recipes to share with everyone. Consider a prize for the best and healthiest dish to encourage more people to get involved.
There are hundreds of things an organisation can do, you’ll find other suggestions here on the official website where you can also register your organisation to participate.
Get involved and get on twitter using the official hashtag #workwell18. Share your outside the box ideas with us @WrkitTweets