According to one study conducted by Duke University, obese workers filed twice the number of workers’ compensation claims, had seven times higher medical costs from those claims, and had 13 times more lost workdays due to injury or illness than non-obese employees.
And according to research conducted by the American Diabetes Association, the annual cost of diabetes in 2017 was $327 billion, including $237 billion in direct medical costs and $90 billion in decreased worker productivity, which is important to note since more than 90% of diabetes cases are Type 2, which is strongly associated with obesity.
Obesity is becoming an epidemic in the modern-day workplace because most jobs no longer require much physical movement anymore. So, to start combating obesity in your own workplace this year, you’ll want to get your employees more active.
Here are four ways to get your employees more active this year.
1. Encourage and Conduct Active Meetings
Encourage managers with small teams to have their meetings outdoors or to walk in a park when they have their meetings. At the very minimum, weekly or daily routine meetings should be conducted in rooms or spaces where everyone is encouraged to stand.
Because workers are constantly sitting at their desks, they’ll appreciate opportunities to walk around the block or to stand up during meetings. And they’ll most likely be more engaged during more active meetings as well.
2. Incentivize Physical Health Programs
Offer bonuses and rewards to those employees who sign up for a gym membership and regularly participate in physical fitness activities there. This might seem extreme at first but offering these types of incentives will still probably cost less than costs associated with workplace obesity that you’re already paying. You can also offer vacations or other incentives to employees who get other employees to be more active, too.
3. Endorse On-site Fitness or Fun Activities
Having a gym or workout area on-site will make it easier for employees to exercise on a regular basis, especially if they don’t have to pay high membership fees. And if you can’t have an on-site fitness area, consider partnering with local gyms or fitness facilities in the area that will offer your employees discounted rates and specials for personal training, etc.
You might also want to consider forming sports leagues or teams for your employees to play on, which will also promote teambuilding as they are having fun and staying active.
4. Issue Treadmill Desks and Standing Desks
To keep your employees active while they’re at work, provide them with standing desks so that they don’t have to sit for 8 hours per day without much movement. And offer them desks that have treadmills underneath them so that they can walk as they work at their computer stations. Such desks will improve productivity rates while decreasing obesity rates, too, so they will be worth the initial expense.
To keep your employees happy, healthy, and active this year—and your organizational costs low—consider implementing the four practices mentioned above today.