It means increased productivity, lower rates of early retirement due to ill health, reduced absenteeism and quick return to work after illness, fewer workplace injuries, greater staff retention and engaged employees, reduced costs to train new staff, improvements in communications and a more positive corporate image.
Each year 140 million working days are lost to sickness absence in the UK, costing UK businesses an estimated £29billion. Presenteeism – attending work while sick – is valued at an average cost to employers of £605 per employee per year, due to reduced productivity. The financial cost to British business of mental ill health is estimated at £26billion per year and high staff turnover can incur huge recruitment and training costs, on top of lost revenue while new employees reach full productivity (Source: BHF Health At Work).
If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to invest in an active, healthy workforce.
The average UK worker spends more than 8 hours a day sitting down (whether that’s at a desk or on the sofa) and 1 in 4 of us are doing less than 30 minutes of activity a week. This level of physical inactivity is having a detrimental effect on our health, causing 1 in 6 deaths in the UK.
However, just 150 minutes of moderately intense activity a week, or 20-30 minutes every day, is all that is needed to improve a person’s overall health and wellbeing. People who are physically active can reduce their risk of more than 20 chronic diseases, including a 30% reduced risk of depression. Being active has many positive effects on work performance, but it can also improve motivation, concentration, energy and stress levels.
“Developing a new habit and changing a few bad ones has made all the difference to my health and well-being. I feel like I am on the start of a new and exciting journey” Diane.
Making small changes over a prolonged period is the best way to include more physical activity into our busy lives. Introducing bite size chunks of exercise in and around our working day is as easy as a brisk 10 minute walk before work, a midday mile with colleagues, a game of office Table Tennis or perhaps a walking meeting.
To find out if you’re achieving the recommended 150 minutes per week, why not sign up to Kent Sport’s free Activity Tracker. Log your daily activities; connect to wearable Apps; earn activity points towards local challenges and view your daily, weekly, monthly achievements.
“Colleagues are now used to seeing me jog on the spot at the printer or pacing whilst on the phone as every step counts!” Liz.
Team building and staff away days are another way to get staff active, boost staff morale and create a positive company image. The annual Kent & Medway Business Games is popular with local employers to engage staff in sport and activity in a fun, relaxed environment.
“The Games are great opportunity to engage with colleagues, try different sports and have lots of fun outside the office” Tamsin
Studies have shown that supporting your colleagues in their steps towards a more active lifestyle is more effective than going it alone. Whether you’re a health coordinator, HR officer, volunteer or a general manager, Kent’s Active At Work Champion Training course gives you the skills, confidence and resources to support your colleagues, to promote better health and to increase participation in sport and physical activity in your organisation.
“The course gave us a real focus. We formed a wellbeing steering group soon after and started to implement some of the things that we learnt on the day”. Zoe.
An active, healthy workforce really does mean a happy, healthy business! To find out how you can improve the health and wellbeing of your staff, just get in touch with Lucy Tomlinson, Kent Sport’s Workplace Health Activator, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.kentsport.org/ActiveatWork