The idiom “work like a dog” used to be a term coined to those who work like there was no tomorrow. Contrastingly, unlike humans, dogs do not contract heart diseases or turn obese by simply working. Humans do. The working landscape has rapidly changed over the last couple of decades. Technological advancement has meant workers are faced with more and more intellectually demanding tasks every day. Naturally, sicknesses creep in and before we know it, employers are shoved with the daunting tasks of keeping their staffs’ morale up and coping with continuous absenteeism while prudentially spending on healthcare expenditures. Employers would do well to think of a more cost effective way to do this with one swoop; namely by promoting Physical Activity Programs in the workplace.
There is a link between employees’ motivation to better perform and a healthy lifestyle. As the saying goes, “you can take a horse to the water but you cannot force it to drink – it will only drink if it’s thirsty”. Motivation is attributed to why people act the way they do, what spur them on. It has little to do with external stimuli and is all about unfulfilled desires. It is well documented that gains in energy expenditure have positive effects on physical health and psychological well being (Lane and Lovejoy, 2001; Kahn et al., 2002). Energetic people are happy people and people in gay spirits have much less unfulfilled wishes. Physical activities such as stairs climbing for an instance, provides just that, the much needed energy build up. It is as simple as physical activities go, and is one activity that should be encouraged among workers. An easy activity and many a times incidental on employees’ part (Yu et al., 2003), stairs climbing offers a luxury of health benefits to the cardiovascular system. It is so easy that neither rigorous plans nor excessive execution are needed to execute stairs climbing. It is calorie blasting made easy. What could possibly be more motivating than feeling good about ourselves?
A survey carried out by the United Kingdom Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) indicated that the average level of sickness absence is 9.1 working days per working year. An estimated £ 588 per employee annually. Physical activity could not play a more integral part in promoting workplace health than this whereby it plays a significant role in the prevention and reduction of chronic diseases (US Department of Health and Human Services, 1996) and importantly, reducing the number of absenteeism among employees. Activities such as 10,000 steps per day is an ideal method of sustaining good health and prevention of potential risk factors for chronic malady (Chan et al.,2004; Tudor-Locke and Bassett, 2004). It is surprisingly easy to reach the 10,000 goal, just by adding another 30 minutes of brisk walk on top of our “routine” walks would amount to the ideal 10,000 steps. Walk on. Hopefully it will not lead us to clinics asking for sick leaves.
Staff turnover can be painful to employers, the idea of retraining staffs does not bode well with the fact that we are in the age where everything is required at the snap of our fingers. And shockingly, it could be deadly expensive as well. According to Maggie McPhillips-Jacka and Paul Quinn of Quinntessential, (Staff Turnover Cost. Retrieved April 8, 2011, from http://www.exitinterviews.com.au/staff-turnover.htm), staffs turnover could cost employers up to 150 percent of a person’s annual salary. Henceforth, the significance of having carefully crafted fitness programs in the workplace. A well designed fitness program increases the attractiveness of the organization as a prospect for would-be employees. Various aspects should be considered when planning for the programs though; the chief factor being the level of challenge employees would have to tackle. Gradually increasing the degree of challenge keeps the fun going. For so long as it is enjoyable to the participating workforce, a happy and a healthy environment is surely nurtured for the workplace. Employers then will not be left “tearing their hair out” trying to figure up ways to solve the staff turnover problems.
Ultimately, mental and physical health should not be viewed in financial terms. There would never be a price tag for healthiness, as there will never going to be a substitution for a healthy and happy life. Hence, irrespective of employers’ involvements, total fitness should be viewed as a priority for each and everyone of us, moreover when you are in a work force – and ageing.