Wellness in the workplace is a growing trend among employers and for good reason.
Currently in the UK, the average office worker takes 6.5 days of absence per annum. This amounts to 190 million working days for absence and approximately £8.4 billion lost annually. The cost of work related stress on the UK economy is an astonishing £6.5 billion, highlighting the importance of finding ways to tackle this issue. Last year there were 10.4 million days lost to stress, with the cost of 'sick' days being £618. Sick days aren't the only issue, presenteeism is now a common phenomenon, this is where employees are coming to work disengaged, tired, unmotivated and too stressed to work.
On a more positive note, a study carried out in the Netherlands has found that strenuous physical exercise at least three times per week reduces the amount of time employees take off sick. The outcome measure was the number of days of sick leave taken.
HIIT training improves blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, cholesterol profiles, cardiovascular health, and decreases abdominal fat and body weight (while maintaining muscle mass). Exercise doesn’t just affect our bodies; it also affects our brains. There seems to be an interesting connection between HIIT training and brain boosting benefits. Studies indicate that our mental firepower is directly linked to our exercise regime. These implications are particularly relevant in the workplace.
Here are some of the cognitive benefits that result from regular exercise:
- Improved concentration
- Sharper memory
- Faster learning
- Prolonged mental stamina
- Enhanced creativity
- Lower stress
Exercise has also been shown to elevate mood, when working in an enclosed environment with people not of your choosing, being able to build and maintain interpersonal relationships is extremely important. Using exercise to boost mood and better cope with minor grievances and irritations can save a lot of time that can instead be focused on work.
By offering your employees access to some form of wellness during their working day you will boost productivity, reduce days lost to sickness, stress and back pain, increase employee satisfaction and thus increase your staff retention.
Depending on the size of your organisation, you may wish to offer your employees access to group classes or specialist 1-1 sessions. These could be 30, 45 or 60 minutes in duration and take place in your office, gym or local park.
Group Fitness Classes
As stated above, strenuous physical exercise reduces sick days whilst increasing your employees' productivity levels. Group classes have also been shown to boost team moral and help them to work more cohesively together.
Yoga classes are known for their ability to reduce stress whilst also alleviating stiffness and postural issues caused by sitting at a desk for long periods.
Originally developed for rehabilitation, Pilates is excellent for developing core strength and reducing back pain, a common complaint for office workers.
Our diet is so important for how we feel, many make poor lunch choices which go on to impact their energy levels and work performance in the afternoon.
Mindfulness and meditation have been shown to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. By learning to be more present, people are better able to cope with the daily stresses of work whilst also being more focused and productive.
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