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Active Offices Getting People Moving

Active workplace helps improve employee wellness and productivity

​Technology has made it possible for employees to get all their work done without ever leaving their desks. In fact we spend 70 percent of our working day sitting down. But there’s a price to pay for that convenience: insufficient levels of physical activity, which the World Health Organization recognizes as a leading risk factor for early death.

Happier and healthier employees

The idea of getting employees to move isn’t a new one. But getting out to exercise is not enough to offset the risk factor of sitting for too long. Instead, the idea is to get employees up and moving during the working day — and more frequently than the occasional trip to the water cooler. 

While some companies are trialing the likes of standing desks and treadmill desks, these can be expensive. But creating more active workplaces doesn’t have to involve refurbishing the office. Instead, it’s more a case of getting employees moving by encouraging walking and standing during informal meetings – or even shifting the office furniture around a little. 

Where there are stairs, encouraging people to use them also helps with employee health. In fact, many offices were designed to have stairs.  Instead of the dark and dingy stairwells that people avoid, modern workplaces feature prominent and open staircases – with elevators hidden away.

Opening up offices for active employees

Modern offices are increasingly adapting to a mobile and flexible workforce. Instead of expecting staff to remain at their desks all day, an open office allows employees to move around to suit their needs, from touchdown spaces where laptop users can gather for short periods to have an impromptu meeting to quiet zones for when people need to concentrate.

Some offices try to inject a little fun into social areas such as table football or table tennis as an added incentive to get employees away from their desks at lunchtime, while others have introduced workplace gardens.​

Wellness programs, mindfulness, and meditation

Getting people moving is just one part of the wellness challenge that many companies are currently tackling. 

Wellness programs are big in many companies, particularly in the US where containing medical costs is a key concern; about half of US companies offer them to try to combat the high health insurance premiums. Employers in Asia recognize that an investment in employee health pays off and many use health programs to attract the best in class talent.

Mental health is also a key area as the modern workplace requires employees to juggle more tasks than ever before. And companies are taking notice: chill out areas and lunchtime classes are becoming more commonplace as companies realize that helping their employees to relax can boost productivity and create a better workplace for all.

Read the full story ‘How active offices are getting people moving’, published on JLL’s news portal site: