Want to Boost Productivity? Get Employees Moving!

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Despite evidence that sitting for more than four hours per day can negatively affect health and life expectancy, the average working adult spends much of their waking life sitting. What’s worse, millions of seated workers have no choice in the matter: Due to their office’s setup, they’re tethered to one chair, bench, or stool all day. And their companies are paying the price.

Data collected about people who are able to move throughout the day shows that active employees are more productive and have sharper mental acuity than their sedentary counterparts. Mobile employees are driving innovation and working with more positive mindsets — all because they’re not forced into static positions all day.

Leaders who want to differentiate their companies should stand up (literally) and take notice. Small adjustments that promote movement and physical activity in the workplace don’t have to kill your budget. Besides, any dynamic furniture you purchase will end up paying for itself when productivity increases.

Getting Innovative With Movement in the Workplace

Some companies aren’t sure where to begin when it comes to introducing movement into the office. An easy starting point is offering education to employees.

On-site general wellness seminars, smoking cessation workshops, and healthy cooking classes improve people’s understanding of how to make simple, yet powerful, changes. Group exercise competitions can similarly support corporate culture and provide a low-key way to encourage physical activity.

At-work yoga sessions can ease back pain, a common problem among those who sit for long periods. As one study  discovered, just one 50-minute yoga session per week can dramatically reduce participants’ back pain, not to mention improve concentration and confidence.

Making the Workplace an Active Experience

Of course, the real secret to getting people up from their desks lies in the choices their companies make. For this reason, members of the VARIDESK team participate in wellness programs. Plus, we offer fresh food options that people can eat in-house, heart-pumping bootcamps three times a week, and special events for employees concentrated around movement. When workers see their managers sweating alongside them, they let go of their worries and enjoy the good vibes.

Seeking tried-and-true workplace activity options to implement now? Try these ideas:

1. Start With Employee-Designed Wellness

If it’s not important to them, employees won’t keep up with a regimen. Find out what kinds of movement workers can get behind. For instance, they might want to turn an underutilized space into a workout room. Ask them to design it. This improves the likelihood of buy-in.

2. Incorporate Movement Into Tasks

Does everyone have a printer? What about their own trash cans? Cut down on equipment maintenance and costs while upping movement by establishing one printer per department and fewer trash cans in centralized spaces. Employees will get up more often, promoting peer-to-peer engagement as well as the opportunity to stretch and recharge.

3. Make Proper Hydration Convenient

Do you make clean, fresh water available to your people? Drinking water encourages higher energy levels and better digestion. Having water and other healthy refreshments available in a break room gets employees moving and can spark spontaneous collaboration.

4. Curb Rambling Seated Meetings With Walking — or Standing — Versions

It doesn’t take a scientist to realize that walking and standing meetings tend to be shorter and more productive than seated versions, which can drone on endlessly. Even if you’re already hosting stand-up desk meetings, incorporate walking ones into your routine every once in a while. You may even want to go outside if your group is small enough and the weather cooperates.

Ideally, your workplace will begin to take on a new dynamic as current employees and new hires adapt to a different, active way of viewing work life. Every step you take today gets you closer to developing a unique spirit of camaraderie that’s built around movement.

Jason McCann  is founder and CEO of VARIDESK.

By Jason McCann