Work places are notoriously sedentary, which has led to inactivity’s climb to the top reason for preventable death worldwide (yes, even over smoking). This doesn’t mean that you should quit your job and start smoking, but rather that you should incorporate some physical activity such as the recommendations below into your work day! Design professionals working with project owners, can create workplace settings that allow and encourage this type of activity.
Change up your work setting.
Most people spend 75% of their work day sitting at their desks. By switching out your standard desk to an active one, such as a standing desk or treadmill desk, you can significantly reduce the amount of time spent seated. There are, of course, pros and cons to both. The sit-stand desk may not help you achieve the recommended 10,000 steps a day, but it can reduce risk of cancer, lengthen your life and improve your posture. HLW have implemented sit stands desks for various clients, including recently for Jupiter Asset Management who wanted them throughout their London office for all staff. If you really want to go for it, try a treadmill desk, which is exactly what it sounds like, a desk with a treadmill under it. By walking just 1-2 miles an hour some people have managed to walk a full half marathon in a day! Walking all day isn’t for everyone, so most offices are installing treadmill desks in breakout areas or in a dedicated area for people to give them a try for a shorter period of time.
Take a break.
Most people are allocated a full hour for lunch, but how many people actually take it? Studies show that 82% of people do not take an hour at lunch and the average lunch break only lasts 28 minutes. Getting out of the office and taking a walk at lunch time has tons of benefits including, improved mood, increased creativity, weight loss, and lowered risk of chronic disease. People who walk at lunch time, rather than being on their smart phones, feel more rejuvenated and productive when returning to work. Not only does being outside in a different environment benefit your health, it gives you some Think Space. One of our clients, The Reserve in Los Angeles, implemented attractive walkways and pathways to encourage this.
Take your meeting for a walk.
If you are having a small meeting of 2-4 people, why not take your meeting outdoors? Walking meetings are a great way to add 15-30 minutes of walking into your day. If you decide to try a walking meeting, there are a few guidelines that should be followed. First, make sure that you suggest doing a walking meeting beforehand so everyone can be prepared and wear comfy shoes or bring a bottle of water. Also, make sure to stick to small groups. The meetings should be a maximum of 3-4 people everyone can be involved and heard. Lastly, try and make them fun! As you are already out for a stroll, why not walk past a point of interest to add something interesting to the walk and give it meaning. If for whatever reason you are unable to go out for a walking meeting a well-designed office will have spaces to facilitate walking meeting such as, walking paths, feature destinations, and connecting stairs. HLW have been incorporating these features for our forward thinking global tech client with great success.
By just making a few easy moderations/changes to your routine and by reducing the number of hours you sit from 6 to 3, studies suggest you can add 2 years to your life expectancy. Seems like a no brainer, right? If you are interested in further ways to improve your employees’ wellbeing and productivity HLW’s Jordan Currie is a Fitwel Ambassador, which means she can connect design and health to integrate both into a workplace and also help business’ attain the Fitwel certification.