Many workers totally inactive in their jobs

Most aware they need to make changes
  • Deborah Condon

Almost half of workers in Ireland admit to being totally or extremely inactive during their workday.

According to the results of a new survey, just one in four manage to reach the minimum recommended level of 150 minutes of exercise per week.

The survey of over 1,000 employees was commissioned by Food Drink Ireland, ahead of their fourth annual National Workplace Wellbeing Day, which takes place on April 13.

The findings show that the majority of workers accept that they need to make personal changes, with almost eight in 10 acknowledging that they need to be more physically active.

Almost seven in 10 feel that they need to start consuming a healthier diet, while four in 10 feel that they need to take better care of their mental health.

Meanwhile, the survey also found that just 46% of women feel they are getting enough sleep, compared to 51% of men.

The business and employer organisation, Ibec, is calling on employers to support National Workplace Wellbeing Day and introduce wellbeing initiaitives into the workplace, as research suggests that these can have a positive impact on employee health.

The survey noted that two in three employees said they would be more likely to stay long term with an employer who is interested in their health and wellbeing. Over half said they would consider leaving an employer who is not interested.

"It is very encouraging to see from the research that employee uptake is strong when employers provide health facilities and services, and I would urge any employer who is not already active in this area to make a start on National Workplace Wellbeing Day.

"It's a win-win for all involved. Employees will be healthier and happier, and employers will benefit from a more engaged and productive workforce, as well as a higher staff retention rate," commented Ibec CEO, Danny McCoy.

Most employees who are inactive during work say that it is because of the nature of their job. Mr McCoy is encouraging employers to use April 13 as an opportunity to try out new and fun ways to promote more physical activity.

"The lunchtime mile is one of the simplest and most popular activities on Workplace Wellbeing Day and has now become a year round activity in many organisations," he said.

The research noted that healthy food choices are becoming more common in workplaces, with one in four employees saying that their employer provides healthy options, compared to one in seven in 2015.

"Over 60% of people in Ireland are classified as obese or overweight. Employers can make a difference - whether it is providing fresh fruit boxes at reception or healthy snacks at meetings, to healthier choices and portion sizes in the canteen," commented registered dietitian, Sarah Keogh.

More information on National Workplace Wellbeing Day is available here

*Pictured are Workplace Wellbeing Day ambassadors, Dublin GAA player, Martha Byrne and former rugby player, David Wallace


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