The most apparent workers’ compensation claims we see are for accidents caused on construction sites or caused by acts such as lifting heavy objects. When we consider those employees working at a desk, we may not see the underlying risks of sitting for long periods, but they are there.
“An analysis of 13 studies of sitting time and activity levels found that those who sat for more than eight hours a day with no physical activity had a risk of dying similar to the risks of dying posed by obesity and smoking.” (Mayo Clinic)
Is sitting a workers’ compensation risk? The line is not clear. A quick Google search will show you the pages and pages of law firms ready to fight these cases, but that doesn’t mean they will win each – or even any – case. Win or lose, lawsuits are expensive, and employers should do whatever they can to avoid them. With employee goodwill in mind, sitting can also lead to many other issues: back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and obesity. The California Workers’ Compensation Institute states claims involving obese workers cost 81.4% higher and caused an average of 35 weeks of lost time, which is 80% more than the 19 weeks of time loss without obesity.
Keeping employees motivated to move throughout the day is a good practice for employers and employees. So, let’s consider four ways to get employees moving.
Standing desks are becoming very common in many workplaces, as are treadmill desks. Treadmill desks are costly, but providing bar height options for employees to stand at while working on a laptop, or a monitor that raises up and down, are more affordable options.
Standing is better than sitting but not by much. Our next option is better.
Instead of having a meeting while sitting in the conference room, why not meet while walking around the building? A change of scenery, along with the walk, and the casual nature of such meetings could lead to more creative ideas. If note-taking becomes hard, try using your phone to record the meeting instead. Speaking of phones, why not schedule your phone calls for a time when walking around the building is a possibility?
Each year, in every corner of the U.S., there are charity 5Ks, 10Ks, and fun runs that you could participate in as a company. By encouraging employees to join in, you are improving employee health and also increasing camaraderie while giving back to a worthwhile cause.
The Pomodoro method breaks work into 25-minute segments with 5-minute breaks in between. The technique increases focus, productivity and, if you use the 5 minutes for walking, health. It’s an easy method to implement among employees with a host of apps that offer automatic timing.
Once you start to think about it, ideas for getting employees moving aren’t that difficult to think of: outdoor lunches, dog-friendly offices, or even friendly step challengesamongst coworkers. Now that we’ve shown you the benefits, we hope you’ll consider implementing some of these ideas and let us know about them on Facebook:
Normandy Insurance Company offers suggestions each week on keeping costs down and efficiency up when it comes to managing your workers’ compensation insurance. If you need workers’ comp or have questions about your insurance, please Contact Us!