Many of us drive to work, sit at a desk for 8 hours then drive home to relax on the sofa. This sedentary life, coupled with poor diet and raised levels of stress could mean our jobs are literally killing us.
The British Heart Foundation warn that 20 million Britons are physically inactive, leading to an increase in heart disease costing the NHS £1.2bn each year. Add on the costs related to diabetes, strain on joints and back pain – all exacerbated by inactivity and you have huge amounts of money being spent on conditions that could be avoided or eased by increased physical activity.
Ill health costs business about £29billion every year, with rates in the UK 4 times higher than other countries. Employees take on average 9.1 days sick per year, costing their employer £595.
This is a significant problem to both employers and the NHS, so what can be done to alleviate it?
Offering healthy activities during work hours could significantly reduce time lost to ill health and improve morale and engagement. A lunchtime walk, yoga, running club or t’ai chi can all be offered at relatively low financial cost, and making it available as part of the working day will increase uptake.
If you make one change to your workplace today, put health at the heart of what you are doing – your staff will be healthier and happier, you will save money and increase productivity.