Like many other office jobs, the day-to-day life of an IT employee involves a considerable amount of prolonged sitting. In a job like that, one needs to be entirely focused on the task at hand, which for a lot of people means not taking too many breaks during their workday. An attitude like that can lead to several health-damaging consequences, especially if you don’t have an appropriate chair or if you set up your working space in the wrong way (e.g. you sit too low or too high in your chair or your screens don’t align).
The above is only one of many examples of why exercise is important in the life of a programmer. There are many health benefits of exercise both for the physical and mental health of employees who have an office job. That’s why, while looking for a new job, one should always take into consideration things like company culture and employee wellness programs.
Physical activity and mental wellness are both very important for employee wellbeing. It can reduce workplace stress and employee turnover, boost productivity, and generally improve employee wellness.
Let’s have a look at employee wellness initiatives that our company has taken and at why it’s so important to motivate employees to develop healthy behaviors.
One solution that we’ve implemented in our office is having height-adjustable desks, which allow our employees to not only sit but also stand at their desks. Standing at your desk instead of sitting can strengthen your lower back, make your posture better, and even improve your concentration.
Standing in front of a desk is a very beneficial way of working, which is probably why many famous and creative people used standing desks while working. It is believed that standing desks were a thing even back in the 1400s and that one of the most popular paintings by Leonardo Da Vinci, “Mona Lisa”, was created behind a standing desk. Other famous people who are known to use desks like that were Thomas Jefferson, Ernest Hemingway, Benjamin Franklin and Winston Churchill.
For many, the next solution promoting physical health that we’ve implemented in our office space may not be that impressive since it is a very common benefit in modern office spaces. However, we believe that having fresh fruit at our office every day is a necessity, a “must have” for a company that cares about its employees’ health, and that even though it’s a very common way of encouraging employees to lead a healthy lifestyle, it is still worth mentioning.
In our opinion, no workplace should go without fresh fruit. Healthy eating habits can be easily promoted through providing healthy food at the office and this is what we strive for here.
Having an on-site gym is one of many ways in which you can support your employees in their health journey. It can have a huge positive impact on a company and its employees.
By putting a gym in the office, you’ll give your employees the space in which they can release their workplace stress, which will then enhance their mood and help them stay mentally active during the remaining hours of their day.
Reducing stress and making employees more comfortable in the workplace by accommodating the office to meet their needs will improve employees’ job satisfaction and boost motivation, and it can also be a great way to capitalize on team building since working out together builds a sense of comradeship. For example, some of the more experienced colleagues at our office started offering help and joint training sessions to those who were less advanced in gym training.
We also offer our employees joint training sessions with a personal trainer (two people per hour) to help them get comfortable with gym equipment and decide on which workout schedule will be the best for them.
Health coaching can be crucial if one wants to encourage employees to participate in a wellness program since many people are not sure how to start or what to do to get the results they want to have. Whether they are after exercises to lose weight or improve their mood, it’s important to give them the resources to do so. In this case, we’ve decided that the best course of action would be to start working with a professional trainer.
By providing an office gym and the possibility of training sessions with a personal trainer, we believe that we have contributed strongly to the general health and well-being of our employees. It has also showed them that the company cares about their welfare.
An office gym is one of the most sought-after employee benefits and we strongly recommend choosing a workplace that understands the importance of mental and physical health. It’s coming from our own experience when we say that having a space like this in your office can only have advantages for you and your job satisfaction.
Exercising has many benefits for your employees’ health and general well-being, but not everyone will enjoy working out at the gym. There are some people who much prefer other types of exercise, such as fitness classes, dance classes, swimming, climbing, squash, etc. This is why co-funding a card such as Multisport or Medicover, which offers entrance and usage or participation in many sports activities at different sports facilities in the area, is another excellent benefit that your employer can provide to you and your coworkers.
Gym memberships and sports cards may be crucial components when it comes to wellness activities that you as an employee wish to participate in, but health insurance and private healthcare are, in our opinion, just as necessary.
Mental health is just as important as physical health. That’s why a space for meditation at the office, in which you will be able to take a breath and relax for a few minutes either between tasks or before starting your day, can be very useful. It is wise to consider such a benefit while looking for a new workplace or talking to your employer about the way in which you may improve your current workplace wellness.
To promote this type of healthy behavior, you may want to give your employees access to a guided meditation app or even use the services of a meditation teacher, who will invite your employees into the world of mindfulness and thus help them find inner peace, deal with stress, increase motivation and productivity, and even improve their sleep hygiene.
Many employees are already invested in their own health, both mental and physical. That’s why giving them space to introduce their own employee wellness program ideas is very helpful and something that we promote at Profil Software, a Python Development Company. Healthy employees who can enjoy a work-life balance, have flexible work hours, a health coach, a gym membership, private healthcare, and meditation space are usually more satisfied both in life and at work. They are more motivated, productive, and less stressed, which is why we offer all those things to our employees.
Our office wellness program was thought about and set in motion thanks to talks with our employees who told us what they’d like to see in the new office and how we can help improve their mental and physical health.
You’ll find a gym and meditation space in our office, but that’s not all when it comes to how we inspire our employees to move around the office more. We’ve equipped our office with a billiard table, table football, a ping pong table, a chess area, and an arcade game to make breaks more interesting and revitalize our employees during working hours, as well as to give them a nice space to spend time after-hours. It gives them more reasons to move away from their desks, even if for a few minutes, and go back to work with a clear head.
We also feel that giving them spaces like this is an excellent way to build a strong and efficient team and create a supportive, positive work environment.
Co-funding our employees’ sports cards led to our employees being more open to group activities after work, such as squash or football. With Multisport cards we can choose a sports facility of our liking and meet up for a round of squash or any other sport after a long day of sitting at our desks. It promotes wellness and at the same time is a great exercise in team building. It is amazing to see employees take the initiative when it comes to this sort of thing, and it also assures us that we came up with an effective employee wellness program.
You may find yourself asking “why is all of this so important?” We talked a little about the dangers of prolonged sitting for your posture and general physical health, but that was only the start when it comes to the subject of exercise and mental and physical health in the life of a Programmer, UX/UI Designer, Tester, and other IT related professions.
Employee health education is an important part of workplace health promotion, which is why we’d like you to know the reasons behind our interest in employee wellness programs.
Sitting in an incorrect way and for more extended periods of time can be damaging to your back and knees. Research also proves that sitting for more than 8 hours a day increases blood pressure, blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and unhealthy cholesterol levels. It also increases the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer. It’s even proven that, for those sitting for more than eight hours every day, the risk of death from these diseases is as high as those who smoke or are obese.
It doesn’t help that this approach to work also promotes eating junk food and drinking sugary drinks instead of walking away from your desk to prepare and eat a healthy meal or drink, which opens another can of worms regarding unhealthy habits. However, both of these issues can be easily solved.
There are many ways in which one can engage employees in emotional wellness and physical health in the workplace. It’s important to know what exactly your employees would like to have or do, what wellness benefits are important to them, and what would push them into taking action when it comes to both mental and physical health. This is why our HR department encourages employees to share their workplace wellness ideas during our quarterly one-on-one meetings.
We try to do everything we can to inspire our office workers to take the wellness initiative and give them all the wellness resources they might need to be successful and satisfied with their lives. Not only were all our tips to promote health and wellness in the workplace implemented in our office, they have also proven to be successful in enhancing employee engagement and creating a healthy workplace for them.
It may be surprising, but all these bad effects that sitting has on your health can be rectified with exercise and body movement. This is why it is advised to take at least a five-minute break every hour and walk around the office or your home, make yourself something to drink, or just stretch for a few moments. Not only will it prevent body stiffness and ease the discomfort you may feel after sitting for eight hours or more, but it will also be good for your eyes.
Some studies even recommend taking a break for a few minutes every half hour and doing everything to incorporate as many excuses for movement as you can; you may try walking outside for a few minutes to take a breath of fresh air or organizing walking meetings with your coworkers instead of sitting in the conference room.
Exercising can be beneficial for not only people who want to lose weight, but also for those who feel like they need to build muscle and improve general health. Physical activity reduces the risk of illnesses such as diabetes, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, heart and lung disease, high blood pressure, and cancer. It can help those who are in the process of recovery from a stroke or other conditions and illnesses.
Exercising has been proven to be a huge game changer when it comes to employees’ mental health as well. Exercise boosts endorphin levels, the chemical produced by the brain and spinal cord that is responsible for feelings of happiness and euphoria. According to many studies, regular exercise can help ease symptoms of both depression and anxiety, decrease stress, increase self-confidence and self-esteem, improve sleep, and boost memory, creativity, and motivation. How does it do that?
The endorphins raised in our brains by physical activity can help fight depression or anxiety. As for stress, increasing your heart rate through exercise stimulates the production of neurohormones like norepinephrine, which improves cognition, enhances your mood, and improves thinking.
Physical activity can also increase your overall ability to respond to stress. Improving endurance, losing weight or increasing muscle tone, and a lot more benefits that regular exercise can bring to your body all add up to greater confidence and self-esteem. Since physical activity increases body temperature thus making you feel calmer, it works like a charm when dealing with sleep problems.
You may have a hard time believing it, but studies also prove that physical activity creates new brain cells and improves overall brain performance, contributing to an increase in creativity and mental energy.
As you can see, exercise can aid you in many ways and play a major part in your life when it comes to general happiness and satisfaction in many areas, including your work life. All of the mentioned benefits of exercise will make you perform better at work and increase your job satisfaction.
Opinions are a little divided, but most studies agree that any physical activity from 30 minutes to one hour daily is a desirable amount. It is best to divide your week into cardio days, stretching days, and strength training days.
However, it is better to do anything than to do nothing at all. If you find it hard to motivate yourself to do some particular activity, it’s better to switch it up to a different activity than to drop exercising entirely because of the lack of motivation.
If you find it hard to incorporate full-length training into your daily routine, you can also divide it into shorter activities and find 2 to 4 times in a day to do a 10–15 minute activity.
As was already mentioned, an office job often means sitting for a prolonged period of time, often up to 8 or more hours, which doesn’t mean anything good for our health. Spending most of our days at the office and having a busy social or family life after a workday for many means putting exercise on the back burner.
As explained in the paragraphs above though, the lack of exercise combined with long sitting hours can lead to several diseases and conditions. This is one of many reasons why promoting a healthy lifestyle in the workplace is desirable.
To sum up, your health should always be at the forefront of your mind because it can affect every part of your life. Health difficulties can make it hard to focus on achieving your goals and make a successful career for yourself. Thus workplace wellness is definitely a matter worth considering when looking for a new job. Having an employer that cares for your mental and physical well-being can make a huge difference in your professional life.
There are many ways in which an employer can support you on your health and wellness journey. An office gym, sports cards, private healthcare, standing desks, healthy foods, health coach or personal trainer, meditation space, meditation teacher and meditation app subscription, group activities… The list is long and we’re sure that, even with all these things implemented, there is always room for more, which is why we keep surveying our employees on their ideas for health and wellness in the workplace.
If you’re still wondering why anyone would need an office gym or meditation space at the office, here is an honest answer for you: Having these benefits is an important addition that will encourage you to exercise and lead a healthy lifestyle, reducing the effects of sitting for many hours in a row. Having an office gym can also inspire you to take short breaks and leave your desk, which will positively impact your eyesight.