The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that US industry loses $225.8 billion to employee illness and absenteeism every year. Among the leading causes of those illnesses are largely preventable conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.
In order to protect their companies from the staggering costs of sedentary lifestyle-related illness, Detroit-based small business owners should use these four techniques to promote physical activity in the workplace.
Start a Lunchtime Walking Club
The New York Times recently reported on an interesting connection between physical activity and employee job satisfaction. A recent raft of new studies found that lunchtime walking clubs offer businesses a range of benefits. It was found that by just getting 30 minutes of extra exercise three times a week, workers became more enthusiastic, less stressed and more focused on their work. Having a staff full of happy workers can have a big impact on a company’s bottom line. A University of Warwick study found that companies with content workers are 12 percent more productive than firms with dissatisfied workers.
Make Yoga Breaks Part Of The Schedule
Although the eight-hour workday has been standard practice in the United States since the 1830s, it’s actually not that efficient a work schedule in today’s culture. Contemporary job typically consist of a 9-to-5 workday wherein employees are sitting at a desk for extended periods. Unfortunately, all that inactivity leads to productivity-killing fatigue, distraction and stress.
While many small business owners are not able to shorten their business hours, Michigan entrepreneurs can push back against this trend by making regular yoga breaks part of their workers’ schedules. By having their employees stop what they’re doing and perform a few yoga poses, small business owners can expect to see a boost in their staff’s morale, concentration and creativity levels. To kick-start the new trend, hire a yogini to come in on a semi-regular basis to provide instruction to those unfamiliar with the practice.
Incentivize Physical Fitness
The key to making your workplace culture more physically active is employee engagement. Give your workers a reason to lead less sedentary, more mobile lifestyles on an ongoing basis. One way to sustain a level of increased physical activity among your workers is to incentivize the achievement of their individual fitness goals. A weight loss competition, for example, is a great way to incentivize fitness with a reward and bolster employees’ long-term commitment to health, with the added bonus of cultivating a more social company culture.
Transform The Office Into A More Active Environment
Another way to promote a physically active company culture is to make the office a more active space. To be clear, achieving this goal does not require an expensive remodel or fancy equipment. Rather, it can be done by installing standing desks and exchanging chairs for yoga balls. Set up all of the office’s printers and copiers in one location so your employees will need to get up and walk when they need to compile paperwork. Make small changes that encourage your employees to stand up from their desks throughout the workday.
Cultivating a company culture of physical activity isn’t particularly expensive. But making small changes to the way your business operates can pay significant dividends in terms of reduced healthcare costs and increased productivity.
To learn more about affordable healthcare plans for your small business, visit Health Alliance Plan.
For more tips and inspiration for small business owners, visit Small Business Pulse Detroit.