According to Totaljobs over half of UK employees don’t take a full lunchbreak. Their research found that over two thirds of respondents said that their reason was that they had too much work to do. Skipping lunch can be counterproductive and can decrease productivity. It makes sense to encourage staff to take their fully allotted break away from their place of work. Bupa found that half of workers who miss lunch find themselves in a bad mood in the afternoon and 30% of workers started feeling physically ill at work following a skipped break. Eating at your desk can make you more stressed and less creative, and a BBC report highlighted that desks and keyboards can harbour higher levels of bacteria than toilet seats.
Undo desk related damage
Getting up and exercising for between 30 and 45 minutes a day can reduce health risks.
It just isn’t healthy to sit down all day and it has become apparent that increasingly sedentary behaviour can have a number of significant health implications. These include poor circulation, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
The International Journal of Workplace Health Management discovered that workers who spent 30 to 60 minutes exercising at lunch had an average performance boost of 15%. Added to this, 60% of the same workers reported improved time management, mental performance and an increased ability to meet tight deadlines on days that they had exercised.
Exercise can de-stress your day
A quick bout of exercise has been proven to dissipate stress and provide stimulation and calm.
We’ve compiled a few tips to help you get your staff away from their desks and workstations to enjoy a well-earned mid-work break.
Promote lunchtime activities
Healthy activities which involve movement can help to prevent the potential musculoskeletal disorders and posture problems that can be caused by sitting at a desk all day. This reduces the likelihood of absences due to back and shoulder problems.
Setting up a lunchtime walking group can bring positive benefits.
Firstly, it encourages your team to step away for an hour and recharge, bringing them back ready to face what the afternoon has to offer. Additionally, being outside in daylight stimulates Vitamin D production and serotonin, which have been proven to regulate our moods.
Getting out and walking with members of other departments also enables staff to interact with teams in other parts of your business, ultimately improving productivity and understanding across the company.
Make exercise an easy option
Create an environment where exercise is encouraged. This can range from small suggestions such as walking to a sandwich shop and eating lunch outside, all the way up to installing changing facilities onsite and allowing your team flexitime so they can incorporate exercise into their day. You could even map a daily mile route for staff to follow.
Install an active games console in the breakroom
Alongside encouraging staff to take up walking or swimming during their breaks, Ipswich Building Society also installed a WiFit in their breakroom. This enabled staff to get fit whilst also participating in competitive and fun sports related games with their colleagues. It also let the team know that they were being actively encouraged to take regular breaks.
Encourage gym membership
If you don’t have a gym onsite, it is worth checking to see if there is one nearby that can provide corporate membership packages for your staff. Aside from enabling them to get fitter and healthier, gym membership as an employee benefit is an excellent way of recruiting and retaining staff.