Remote working could lead to more of a sedentary lifestyle

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Remote working could lead to more of a sedentary lifestyle

Over a quarter of workers are sitting down for more than nine hours a day, with worries that the spread of COVID-19 and remote working may lead to this figure increasing even further, with nearly three-quarters of those in HR stating there is a link between physical fitness and absenteeism.

Westfield Health has found that 26 per cent of employees sit down for more than nine hours a day before the outbreak of COVID-19, with 74 per cent of HR professionals acknowledging there is a link between physical fitness and absenteeism.

Those in the finance sector spend the most time sitting down with an average of 7.58 hours with travel & transport (7.41 hours) coming second and IT and telecoms (7.22 hours) third.
Almost two-thirds (61 per cent) of employees across professions say they are worried about the impact of this lifestyle on their health.

Nearly three quarters (74 per cent) of IT and telecoms workers are worried about the impact of a sedentary lifestyle on their health, as well as 71 per cent of manufacturing and utility employees.

Dave Capper, CEO of Westfield Health, said:

The coronavirus outbreak in the UK has also highlighted just how little attention we pay to our everyday health and hygiene, as much of the advice, such as washing hands and using alcohol hand gels or wipes, should be something we do every day.

The UK may have the expertise to deal with this pandemic, but this must be the starting gun for Britain to change its ways and address its long as well as short-term health challenges.
This needs to be the health scare catalyst that fires the UK towards being healthier, both for our personal health and our economic health as a nation.

After all, we know that absenteeism is costing many UK businesses hundreds of thousands of pounds a year and days off for physical and mental health are on the rise.

Our own investigations found that workers are sitting up to 7 and a half hours a day, while only a fifth get the recommended amount of exercise. This sedentary lifestyle is impacting our long-term health and increasing absenteeism.

In November 2019, BakkerElkhuizen a specialist in designing offices ergonomically for computer workstations gave its top reasons why you should offer your employees the choice to stand and sit alternately whilst working.

To obtain these results Westfield Health spoke to 2,000 employees.

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3 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. All the more reason for sensible, separated, regular exercise to be a core part of our Covid-19 response.
    Cycling (where you touch nothing except your handlebars/brake leavers for the entire ride), on your own, could usefully be promoted as one of the most ‘covid-safe’ ways of taking regular exercise. Country walking, where gates and stiles are inevitably touched, is not the same.
    Yet cycling colleagues are already coming in for much criticism for a simple 60 miles outing – even though for most of the ride they are probably not within a mile of another person, let alone 2 metres.

  2. Walking does not require any equipment, other than a sensible pair of trainers or boots so it’s accessible to most, and if you walk at a good pace, it is proven to improve both physical and mental health. On a walk, even the same route each day, you see nature unfold through the seasons, close up. In the midst of this crisis, noticing a hedgerow gradually unfurl into verdant green or watching a bird glide on a current, is such an uplifting experience. And yes, there are gates and stiles to touch, but there’s also gloves which you can throw in the washer on your return!

  3. Totally disagree.

    When office-based I often arrived too tired from the day job to go out and exercise. I also had too little time – dinner prep and family time was looming when I walked through the front door.
    With remote or home working, you have no commute so could spend that time either first thing to go out on a run/walk or cycle or in the late afternoon when you close your laptop – which I often do; mornings work for me and set me up for the day at my desk. It is hugely invigorating to do exercise either at the start or finish of your day and much more manageable now that we are working from home. And yes I am in HR.

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