Wellness programs encompassing gym memberships and out-of-work activities are a start, but there’s room for corporate wellness while employees are getting work done, too.
Steve Bordley accepted an offer for a job that could’ve killed him.
No, he wasn’t about to become a firefighter or a police officer. Nor did his new gig threaten to place him in any sort of serious physical harm, like a construction worker or coal miner’s job might.
Bordley, a former collegiate athlete who was recovering from a serious leg injury that put him in a wheelchair, accepted a job that required him to sit at a desk in front of a computer for between 12 and 14 hours a day.
The prospect of this, he said, was terrifying.
“I knew that I was going to cut my life in half if I didn’t do something,” Bordley said, fearing his new desk job would create a serious hurdle to his health and physical recovery from the leg injury.
Too much sitting can cause immense physical harm over time. Even as organizations have implemented employee wellness efforts aimed to enhance the health of their people, research says such small fragments of exercise — like an hour’s worth of running or yoga — is simply not enough to combat the serious long-term health risks associated with lengthy sedentary periods in a chair.
A possible solution does exist: Employers need to get their workforce moving during the day, too, or at least provide options to do so.
According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s the constant, low-impact exercises that are most effective combatants of heart disease, diabetes and the other long-term, life-threatening ailments. But most corporate workers are not putting in enough of this kind of activity, such as walking or other simple movements, throughout the workday.
The challenge for talent managers is determining how to get people moving during work without the loss of efficiency, productivity or quality.
Three years ago Bordley came up with an idea some companies are now using: an elevated desk, designed to sit over any manufactured treadmill, so employees can walk and work at the same time.
Now the CEO of TrekDesk, Bordley has sold thousands of these desks, and plans to expand the business into Europe and Canada in the next year. Roughly 80 percent of TrekDesk buyers work from home offices, while just 20 percent use their treadmill desks at corporate offices.