Keep Your Talent Moving

I’ve written about the ergonomics of sitting, standing, and everything in-between in my last two articles. While sitting may not be the new smoking as was previously claimed, and standing is not necessarily the answer, what we do know is this: It’s the overall lack of movement that’s killing us. So what can you do to get your talent moving and keep them moving?


If your company has any kind of employee wellness program, take another look at it and see what you can do to up the movement factor in your programming. Robust health and fitness programs will enhance employee productivity, reduce your healthcare costs, keep everyone’s stress in check, and boost overall morale throughout the organization.

Lunch hour walking clubs, regular 10-minute breaks for physical activity, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking meetings, and reserving meeting rooms for exercise classes are just a few of the ways some companies are using to keep their talent moving.

Other ideas include having various kinds of open workstations that employees can move around to as they want, some might be sitting stations while others are standing stations. Also consider placing water coolers and coffee machines in places where employees will have to walk a ways or even use stairs to get to them. You might also offer subsidize fitness center memberships as one of your core benefits to keep your talent moving when they’re not at work. If your company can offer to pay for 50% of the cost (up to $650 per year), you might be surprised at the bump up in morale it causes.

Returning to the whole sitting versus standing debate, in the final analysis approaching it as an either/or choice is the wrong framework – view it instead as a both/and. Uninterrupted sitting is not good for you, and neither is uninterrupted standing. The way to counteract all that sitting is to interrupt it, fairly frequently. In fact, all you have to do is stand up. It’s the change in posture that’s key to counteracting sitting. Dr. Joan Verniko made this discovery while she was NASA’s Life Sciences Division, and wrote about her research in Sitting Kills, Moving Heals. And when you interrupt your sitting you don’t have to do any crazy exercise. You just have to stand up. The optimal counteraction to sitting all day at work is to stand up every thirty minutes, so that means standing up 32 times over the course of your entire day. Sitting down and standing up repeatedly all at once doesn’t work. They key is spreading it throughout the day.

Here’s an example of a company, Johnson & Johnson, that’s taking the idea of keeping its talent moving. The company’s movement policy states that by 2020 all sites must…

  • Educate and engage employees and their families on the importance of physical activity/movement.
  • Encourage employee participation in movement and physical activity programs.
  • Incorporate movement breaks into the workday and for all meetings over 90 minutes.
  • Provide accessible and welcoming stairwells (well-lit, safe, inviting, promoted and accessible).
  • Provide sit/stand workstations (for jobs that require sitting through the majority of the working day).
  • Provide “Energy Space” for movement and recovery.
  • Map indoor or outdoor walking trails.
  • Promote movement via technology, signage and other communications.
  • Provide access to fully equipped Fitness Centers.
  • Provide programs and opportunities for families to routinely engage and participate in physical activity.

This is a pretty ambitious plan, and requires a serious amount of staffing and resources to make it happen. But the payoff for such a commitment can be huge. Your employees are your most important asset that keep your company moving in the right direction. But they can’t give you peak performance if they’re not healthy. Creating an intentional movement policy with care and resources to back it up is a vital part of any company’s health and wellness program.

October 11, 2016   Updated :November 16, 2016   movement, Wellness, workplace movement   

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