Tag Archives: activity

Productivity and Nutrition: Making the Connection

It’s not exactly breaking news: nutrition is one of the major factors that impacts employee productivity. One of the seminal works on the topic comes from the International Labour Organization (ILO), which published a study in 2005 linking nutrition to workers’ health and productivity. The report, which took a global perspective on both developing and developed countries, found that poor nutrition can reduce employee productivity up to 20 percent. Both malnutrition and obesity can drastically affect workers’ ability to come to work and perform effectively.

Productivity and Nutrition

More recently, a report from Britain’s Healthiest Workplace found that British companies lose an average  of 27.5 days of productive time per employee per year due to health-related absenteeism and presenteeism. Presenteeism, according to the Harvard Business Review, is when employees show up to work but are not functioning at their optimal levels. Presenteeism is insidious, because unlike absenteeism, it is difficult to detect and even harder to track. Nonetheless, research suggests that it may cost companies up to 10 times more than absenteeism.

Wellness programs may be the answer. Research from the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO), Brigham Young University, and the Center for Health Research at Healthways suggests that employees who eat healthily and exercise regularly have a 27 percent lower absentee rate and 11 percent higher rate of job productivity than their obese colleagues.

Although companies can’t force employees to maintain healthier lifestyles, they can make it much easier for them to do so. Offering discounts at health clubs and creating pre-, post-, and mid-work exercise groups are great ways to encourage physical activity. And providing healthy food options and detailed nutritional information helps employees make good eating choices. That’s why USConnect’s The Right Choice…For a Healthier You™ program gives employees the information and options they need to make good nutritional decisions.

Employee productivity comes down to the choices of each employee, but armed with the right research and some great food choices, HR departments can improve productivity across the board.




Are Standing Desks Healthier for Your Body?

Stand and Deliver

If you follow workplace wellness trends, you’ve probably noticed that standing desks are getting a lot of attention these days. There is ample reason for the hype surrounding an alternative to traditional sitting desks; as several studies have shown, sitting is very bad for your health. Sitting puts an extra 40 percent of pressure on your spine, and a sedentary lifestyle has been linked to cardiovascular problems, type 2 diabetes, and even increased risk of dementia and cancer! The health risks prompted some to claim that “sitting is the new smoking.”

Are Standing Desks Healthier for Your Body?

Working Americans spend an average of six to 10 hours a day sitting, usually in front of a computer. But how to work without sitting? Enter the standing desk, touted by many as a cure-all for the problems that prolonged sitting brings. Custom standing desks are available for thousands of dollars, or homemade ones can be fashioned from planks, books, and other household items.

Research shows that spending at least part of your day at a standing desk has some considerable benefits, including:

  • Reduced risk of obesity
  • Reduced risk of cancer, especially breast and colon cancer
  • Improved posture
  • Less pressure on spine, so reduction of some back pain
  • Longer life

That being said, research shows that replacing sitting all day with standing all day is not ideal either. Standing for long periods can increase lower back pain, decrease concentration on certain tasks, and result in enlarged veins. The key, it seems, is movement and moderation. Going back and forth between sitting and standing during the course of the day is much more beneficial than choosing one position and staying in it for eight hours. Many people are now choosing convertible sit/stand desks that allow for that flexibility, and adding accessories like anti-fatigue mats to reduce pressure on legs.