Lack of exercise
20 November 2013
In the modern world, the number of employees who perform sedentary work is growing rapidly and already exceeds 90 percent. People have to sit not only in the office, but also during the meals, travelling by transport, watching TV at home etc. However, many of the office jobs require the most static position. This is especially true for those who work with clients in companies with the strong corporate ethics.
Often, the sedentary position brings not only the general fatigue, but also the threat of the spine disease and internal organs dysfunction. The emotional state of the person can also suffer from such pattern. In addition, most of those who sit out the working days in front of the computer also suffer from eye diseases. Gradually, the quality and quantity of the work performed is reduced (Lebowitz). It means that the efficient work of an employee will require lingering in the evening or catch up the undone issues on the following day.
The main problem of all the people working in offices is the lack of exercise. Currently, an office worker is characterized by the almost stationary mode of existence. Permanent sitting by phone and at computer deprive people from their physical activities. For a contemporary office employee, all the time is spent at work and is dedicated to the solution of the ongoing problems. The thought of visiting the gym does not come to ones mind. In case that such an idea arises, people always find reasons to deny the benefits of the fitness classes. The result is a body overweight, bad mood, high fatigue and poor performance. The long-term implication of overweight is well-known to everybody. However, the consequence of an early lack of movement implies the decrease in performance efficiency. Moreover, it should be noted that, in order to maintain a healthy body, one does not need to occupy the fitness club 3 days in a week. Alternatively, performance of some exercises on the job can be considered sufficient in order to be fit (Anne).
Proposed Solution to the Problem
Health promotion and wellness programs imply the actions, which are taken by employers to improve the lifestyle and health of the employees. This is an effective approach to the prevention of chronic diseases. Part of the effort can be directed at improving the safety by improving the organization of labor and the working environment. These programs also increase productivity and efficiency of employees. The most successful programs use a holistic approach based on the definition of health given by the World Health Organization (WTO). According to WTO, the health is defined as not only the absence of disease but also a state of complete physical, mental (including emotional and intellectual), social and spiritual well-being. Thus, there is the correlation between the physical health and the social, psychological and spiritual state of the person.
The main factors of the success of such programs include the following aspects:
- The support of the management of the company;
- The availability of the program working group, which includes both managers and employees;
- The assessment of the workers health level;
- The formation of a clear strategy and plan of action further to assessment of the situation;
- The substantial involvement of the staff into the wellness program;
- The evaluation of the effectiveness of the program.
Corporate fitness or wellness programs offer assistance in developing and implementing programs to promote health at work. Such programs include the following:
- The consultation on the development of the companys policy, program strategy and implementation plan;
- The training on the development of the program strategy and implementation plan;
- The consultations on the composition and organization of the Program committee, i.e. the working group;
- The support of the committee work;
- The consultations on the needs of the program performance and assessment with provision of the evaluation tools.
- The data analysis and professional advice;
- The expert support and implementation of the various components of the program;
- The individual counseling services to managers and employees;
- The services of individual health risk screening and the professional support of lifestyle changes.
Lack of free time and money, the unhealthy lifestyle and traditions of family relationships, a large amount of job duties, overtime in the regular working day, frequent trips, strict deadlines, - all these are just partial of circumstances that make it difficult to stay fit. Ultimately, overload results in decreased performance causing failures, sickness, and visits to the doctor during the working hours. For example, General Motors Company found that losses due to employees illnesses can be evaluated as $ 3.3 billion a year.
The efficient manager appreciates not only the bright minds of the employees, but also cares for their mental and physical well-being, trying to provide all the necessary conditions to maintain them. For example, there can be the situation where the employer introduced universal fortification of foods as one of the preventive measures. However, the efficiency of such approach is questionable as this initiative should be taking into account the individual characteristics and needs of each person.
Physical training and fitness as an alternative to artificial stimulants is a universal tool, on the one hand, whereas it assumes purely personal approach, on the other hand. The relatively low cost of the space organization equipped for sporting activities is considered to be the absolute solution to maintain the vitality of employees and, as a result, their high productivity at work (Parikh).
The availability of the group and individual fitness activities suitable to the needs and desires of employees, as well as the variety of relevant forms and techniques, can make the process of psycho-physical rehabilitation after a workday enjoyable to employees, or it may provide the energy boost in the morning before work, making it fun, useful, interesting for many employees of the company.
For example, Johnson & Johnson Company estimated that, after the first year of participation in the Fitness-life-style program, the number of disability days reduced by 13%. The scientists have discovered that sports activities allow increase productivity by 30%.
The poll of 95 HR managers from different companies, conducted for HRM Begin Group project in February 2005, showed that 41.3 % of organizations offer their employees the corporate sports tickets and other programs (or at least partially pay for them), and 18.4% plan to introduce this element in the social package in the near future. About a third of respondents (30.4 %) suppose that the main purpose of such benefits provision to employees are made in order to stimulate and create the loyalty towards the company. 39.3 % of the respondents consider it as the opportunity to strengthen physical health, 23.3 % consider it as the tool for the team spirit lifting while providing opportunities for employees to communicate beyond the working hours.
The financial analysis allows the employer to come up with a proposal to include the cost of health and fitness programs in the benefits package, thereby reducing the tax base for income tax. In any case, the employer builds a very successful chain as the healthy worker is a productive worker while the productive employee implies the person who is ready to perform the quality job. In fact, the quality work implies the work of the successful company.
The international studies of International Association of health sports clubs and active lifestyle confirm that employees, who actively attend sports centers, are more attentive and concentrated in the workplace. It is noteworthy that they make fewer mistakes, have higher creative potential and are able to make faster decisions and implement them, than their colleagues, who do not engage in sports activities. It is natural that a person, who started his or her day with a jogging session in the park or on the treadmill in the gym, gains advantages of internal concentration and stamina; thus he/ she is alert and energetic for the rest of the day. In addition, it has been proven that the regular exercises several times a week increase the bodys resistance towards stress and overload, reduce fatigue and irritability. It means that the conclusion is clear: sport and health oriented employees are more likely to succeed in the performance of their duties, get a promotion, and thus ensure their career and well-being growth.
Du Pont, the worlds largest multinational company, published official data, which stated that since the introduction of corporate wellness programs, the number of employees illnesses decreased by 47.5%. Moreover, there was a significant decrease in working days omissions due to illness and reduced payments for sick leaves.
Corporate wellness program is implemented in companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Mesa Petroleum, Bank of America, Pacific Railroad, Adidas and others. However, it is not just a fad of time but rather a trend that finds more and more supporters and followers, based on a clear motivation, economic, and financial calculations. Currently, 35% of U.S. companies are using corporate wellness programs.
The corporate wellness program was created for the benefit of workers and employees (YouTube). This program requires mandatory medical testing that is conducted on a regular basis, for instance once a year. Based on the examination, the doctor not only determines the level of the physical condition of the employee but can trace its dynamics and make an individual training program coupled with the correct nutrition system. The medical examination includes measurement of blood pressure, blood tests, cardio-testing, as well as checking the level of fitness and flexibility, the degree of muscle and aerobic capacity.
After medical testing, people can begin to train. In fact, when regularly visiting the club the person starts to feel like sports is becoming an integral part of his life. Obviously, the head of the company may decide it difficult to move to the corporate wellness in the structure of the company because there is no set formula that will provide a direct estimate on the income versus funds invested in the program. However, the modern fitness equipment and exercise can be monitored and accurately assessed, thus strengthening and improving the physical condition of everyone who participated in this program can be measured in terms of equipment costs. The computers, built in the fitness equipment, allow make constant monitoring of the body condition. The reports and computer printouts confirm that people significantly improve the function of the cardiovascular and nervous systems (while reducing the risk of coronary heart disease), as well as provide the general mobilization of the body and level of fitness.
There can be defined some basic ways of corporate wellness implementation into the structure of the company. Management may decide to use the space available for the establishment of the gym and medical unit (YouTube). This way is usually used by big companies that can afford to make serious investments in this area. The advantage is clear as the company becomes the owner and master of the own sports center. However, this approach has a number of downsides and disadvantages, such as obtaining necessary licenses, recruitment of qualified medical and coaching staff, as well as limited opportunities for transforming the existing space to suit new goals. To avoid capital expenditures for the construction and operation of its own sports center, it is possible to conclude a mutually beneficial agreement with a corporate fitness club that specializes in providing fitness services and has a solid technical base. Currently, the number of such clubs is growing, along with improving the equipment and increasing the range of services.
The abovementioned includes pools and saunas, fitness, sports and dance halls, specialized herbal bars, SPA salons and more. In fact, it should be noted that when employees of one company meet in a club outside of working hours, the more sophisticated level of communication arises among them. Ultimately, any company is aimed at creating the favorable moral climate, increased personnel prestige and reliability while greatly reducing the staff turnover. These factors certainly demonstrate a positive effect on the results of the manufacturing process while increasing the profitability of the enterprise. It means that the winners are the two sides, i.e. both the owners and employees.