To Encourage Walking, Employers Need To Intervene


It’s natural to consider the shift from sitting to standing or even walking on the job as an individual effort. But this belief couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s the organizations that actively and regularly encourage their employees to move in healthful ways that successfully transform their company culture along with employee health and wellness.

Let’s face it, desk jobs have been exactly that for decades – deskbound and inactive. Changing that cultural norm and forming new habits will take time and effort. The first step to making change is simple awareness and determination. Next in line are education, intervention, and consistency.

The desk, for most office employees, is where work gets done. Likewise, managers often associate those at the desk the longest as their star employees, or at least the ones who demonstrate optimal productivity and efficiency. And sitting seems like a harmless activity – even therapeutic at times. Nevertheless, there’s indisputable evidence that sitting for prolonged periods can lead to undesirable outcomes including an increased risk of diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and premature death.

To change the status quo office-wide, managers should encourage their direct reports to get up and stretch, step away from their chair, take a walk, and move around the office. Managers can also switch-out stationary desks for treadmill or standing desks that have adjustable workstations, giving employees a choice on how they’d prefer to work while reinforcing new, healthier company values.

Ongoing efforts might also include new workstations, which have come a long way since the traditional “L” and “U” designs. Today, it’s easy to find flexible furniture that transforms from sitting to standing to walking on a belt in just a few minutes. Fold-ups can also save space, raising or lowering electronically without disturbing the desktop or computer monitor.

Finally, keep the campaign going month after month. Ongoing get-moving campaigns include posters, educational trifolds, lunch-and-learns, internal memos, emails, and home mailers. Change isn’t a one-time or individual effort. It’s an ongoing task that requires all hands on deck.

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