Benefits of moving more at work - Heart Foundation

Filed under: [Health & Safety]

Employers looking to improve corporate wellness in their organisations could learn a thing or two from the Heart Foundation.

The national charity has created what has become known as the 'Meerkat Phenomenon', where employees alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day.

Recently, the Heart Foundation put the phenomenon to the test, undertaking a trial study of a group of 40 staff. The group was tracked over a three month period so that researchers could see whether alternating between sitting and standing resulted in any measurable health improvements.

Heart Foundation Active Living senior manager Michelle Daley said that overall, the results were positive.

"Some staff found they improved their posture by standing more, or suffered less back pain. Others said they stayed more alert and were able to focus on their work better, especially later in the afternoon which has benefits for both the individual and their employer," Ms Daley said in a statement.

Now the Heart Foundation is interested to see if the Meerkat Phenomenon would produce any positive results in workplaces.

"The main challenge now is to work out whether these results are maintained in the longer term and whether we could find similar results if we tried this in other workplaces," Ms Daley said.

She added that in the meantime, there are several ways that employers can encourage staff members to move more throughout the workday.

"Some other tips I'd recommend to sit less and move more throughout the day are taking the stairs instead of the lift, standing up to take a call and moving your meetings to the outdoors by going for a walk instead of catching up around the boardroom table," she advised.

These tips may help employers promote good health and wellbeing in the workplace. People spend a large proportion of their time at work, so it is beneficial if they can do their job in a healthy environment.

For professional help in implementing a corporate wellness strategy, employers may also want to invest in a work health check.

As part of this check, trained medical professionals, exercise physiologists and dietitians can come into your workplace and provide your employees with health advice and guidance.

This is a great way to provide staff members with access to quality healthcare from experienced professionals.