Are we sitting our way into sickness?

The workplace has changed remarkably in the last 50 years, even the last 20 years, the part most of us have been around to see.

  • More adults are working, and more jobs involve part-time hours.
  • There has also been a marked change in the composition of jobs. Today the service sector accounts for almost 80% of jobs – the service sector being all industries excluding agriculture, mining, manufacturing and construction.
  • The average Australian spends almost 33 hours per week at the workplace with full time workers spending almost 40 hours per week at work.
  • In addition to this, those working full time in jobs that involve ‘mostly sitting’ — and that’s a lot of jobs in the service sector — spend an average of 6.3 hours per day sitting at work. And it’s not just in the services sector. Mining is changing rapidly, where we now see people working in remote operations centres.

In short, with nearly three quarters of adults working, the traditional risks of industry and manufacturing have been replaced by the insidious risk of sedentary work. It’s no wonder we’re seeing a steep rise in chronic diseases such as diabetes, musculoskeletal injuries and mental health complaints across both blue and white collar sectors.

Evidence now confirms the association between prolonged sitting and the risk of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, even in physically active adults.


How would you rate the health of your people?

Worksite Fitness and Rehabilitation work across lot of different industries. The resources sector is generally progressive in health and safety, they’ve had to be. Managing people in hazardous work on shift rotations of 12 hours tends to highlight health issues.

Generalising here. But in our Health 100 assessment programs, at mature resource companies, employees tend to score highly (70-80 out of 100). Employees in other industries such as manufacturing / warehousing / logistics tend to score much lower on health assessments (averaging 60-70 out of 100).

Health and safety culture in an industry takes time to develop. It’s no real surprise that one of the highest risk industries – offshore oil and gas – tends to have the best safety cultures and health programs for their staff.


Good health is good for business!

With more people spending more of their day at work, employers have a growing responsibility to create a culture that prioritises the health and wellbeing of their people. The risk of NOT taking action, is not only a risk for the people who work for you, but it’s an economic risk for business.

The good news is that there is a lot that can be done, and sometimes it’s the simple solutions work best. A Sydney University study found that by exercising just 20 minutes or more per day, you’ll counter the risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle.

Many workplaces are already seeing the positive impact from their greater focus on health and wellbeing. Greater teamwork, creativity, staff morale – even a noticeable difference to their business’s bottom line.

Want some simple strategies to get your people moving more each day? Worksite Fitness and Rehabilitation are here to help. Contact us to discuss a strategy for your workplace today.