How unhealthy is your workplace?

Suzanne Clarkson-Lewis

Suzanne Clarkson-Lewis
Marketing Manager, Assurity Consulting
17th January 2019

Does your workplace discourage physical activity and encourage its employees to make less healthy choices? In our workplace similar to other workplaces I’m sure, it depends on the role you have within your organisation to how much physical activity you can do in a day.

As a business we do like to celebrate success ‘a lot’ and just through the nature of celebrations – they tend to mostly involve eating high fat and sugary foods! We do however try and balance the ‘celebrations’ with locally run activity events, ‘make a difference days’ working for or supporting charities, and sporty team building events – but is it really enough and as a responsible employer, should we be doing more? Or ultimately is it down to the individual to decide how they want to live their lives?

Adults in full time work spend about one-third of their waking hours at work, so is the workplace the ideal environment in which to raise awareness of what someone eats, their weight and how much physical activity they do? Now that’s a tricky one…

But does the evidence stack?

  • According to Public Health England the cost to the UK tax payer of an unhealthy work force has been estimated at £60 Billion per year.
  • Around one third of adults in England are damaging their health through the lack of physical exercise according to the health survey for England 2016.
  • NHS Digital Survey and guidance on obesity says, on average obesity deprives an individual of an extra nine years of life.

So will our charity tuck box only supply ‘healthier’ treats, will the walking club or the competitive walk to work week come to fruition, or will we be paying for diet club memberships for employees with high BMI?

Whichever way we go we need to keep it simple with the things that will benefit our employees the most across the company. Being healthier and feeling fitter will only have a positive impact on people’s mental health as well as their physical health, so there would be benefits for all. Would any cost outlay outweigh the benefits? What will the outcome be, greater employee retention, fewer sick days and higher productivity? 

What are you considering or what do you already have in place within your organisation to keep your workplace healthy?