After indulging over Christmas, many of us are trying to stick to our goals of healthy eating and exercise, but could your office be playing more of a role in your health than the festive food?
According to research by CV Library, almost a third (29%) of workers in the UK believe their jobs are making them overweight.
The reasons behind the work-related weight gain, HR Magazine reports, were sitting at a desk all day (50.1%), being unable to find the time to exercise (48.8%), snacking (40.3%), eating more as a result of feeling stressed (31.2%), and colleagues bringing in unhealthy snacks to share with the office (28%).
Stress, lack of activity, and overeating can result in serious long-term health issues. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development claims that the UK is the most overweight nation in Western Europe, with more than a quarter (27%) of Brits clinically obese and over a third (36%) overweight.
Meanwhile, our increasingly sedentary lifestyles, severely impacted by our office-based jobs, are considered to be more dangerous than smoking. So, it seems our working environments certainly have a lot to answer for when it comes to our health.
But it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Texas has revealed the possibility of reversing heart damage caused by sedentary lifestyles.
The study, discussed by Cardiovascular Business, found that middle-aged adults that exercised five times a week for two years reversed damage to ageing hearts and prevented heart failure, even if participants had never been active. Study lead, Dr Benjamin D. Levine, recommends adults stick to this exercise regime: “That’s my prescription for life, and this study really reinforces that it has quite extraordinary effects on the structure and function of the heart and blood vessels.”
But, with nearly half of British workers saying they struggle to find the time to work-out, what can be done?
Perhaps it’s time for employers to realise the health implications of their office on their staff and commit to make a change.
While you might not be able to stop staff from bringing in sweet treats (sometimes you really need that pick-me-up on a Wednesday afternoon!), there are plenty of other ways you can improve the health of your office.
Standing desks are a great and easy way to cut down on the amount of time we sit down. But why not take that one step further and get your staff moving?
From providing gym discounts to adding a gym to your office to hiring someone to come in and give lunchtime exercise classes, there are plenty of ways employers can help to incorporate working out into the working day. Not only will employees feel more healthy, they’ll also be more creative, less stressed, and have greater mental stamina, Harvard Business Review explains. It really is a win-win for all.