It’s no secret that health insurance costs are increasing year-over-year well above inflation. To accommodate those increases, employers are looking for ways to share some of those costs with employees. And who can blame them when the CDC reports that 75% of Americans’ chronic health conditions are caused by lifestyle choices?
But before pointing the finger at the employee, we may want to rethink the office environment. The CDC identified four lifestyle choices, including physical activity, and then assigned responsibility to either the employee or the employer. In the case of physical activity, four out of five “fingers of responsibility” pointed at the employer. On average, office workers spend almost 6 hours per day sitting.
Add to that the findings from a recent study by the Work & Health Research Centre at Loughborough University which found “those who sit for longer at work are more likely to sit outside of work” and you can conclude that a key contributor to a sedentary lifestyle is the office environment. University of South Carolina looked at sedentary behaviors’ effect on the mortality of men and found that risks for heart disease, diabetes, and a number of health problems increased alongside levels of LDL Cholesterol (“bad cholesterol”), triglycerides, blood sugar, and BMI among men who sit more.
So what can employers do other than simply asking employees to exercise more? Consider the following suggestions to build physical activity into the office environment:
- Walking Meetings: Offices are never lacking in meetings. An easy way to implement activity is to make at least one meeting a day a walking meeting.