There’s no doubt that our changing lifestyles are affecting our health. Obesity is leading to a rise in conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, and being overweight can have side effects including sleep apnoea and back problems. If somebody is suffering from any of the ill-effects of being heavier, then it could really impair their productivity at work, as well as leading to them needing more time off. So how can you encourage your staff to be as healthy as possible, while supporting those who may be going through the process of losing weight?

What you can do

The UK Government recognises obesity as a threat to office productivity and offers advice on helping to tackle it. It is aware that promoting a healthy lifestyle makes employees feel more valued, improving their self-esteem and confidence – which will obviously have a positive effect on their work. Serving healthy food in the office canteen is a good way of making sure that your employees are making good choices at lunchtime. Activities such as walking meetings and non-working lunch hours also allow workers to incorporate exercise into their day.

Additionally, the Unilever Fit Business initiative aims to help workers make healthy choices both in and out of the office. By providing health checks and menus with full nutritional information, people can equip themselves with the knowledge they need to become fitter. Healthy cooking master classes and tools such as pedometers mean that it’s fun to be involved in too. Ask around the office for what people would like to see introduced. It could be anything from a weekly newsletter of healthy recipes to a monthly office exercise afternoon – see what fun activities are available in your area and then put it to a vote!

obesity at work

Providing comfortable seating

If an employee of yours is trying to lose weight, it’s important that you do all that you can to support them in this – but also provide them with a comfortable work station. After all, a healthy eating plan  means a slow and steady weight loss, not an overnight transformation. Chairs for big people are more widely available now than ever before, and will ensure that your employees are all comfortable, no matter their size. The Bariatric range of office chairs provide a little bit more room for those who need it, elimination the pain and distraction an uncomfortable chair can cause.

If an employee of yours is taller than average too, then chairs by brands such as BodyBilt are ideal. Their specially designed chairs for tall people provide all the support anyone could need – no matter their height. From desk to meeting room, everyone deserves to sit in complete comfort.

Respect and support your staff

Remember though, it’s never okay to push someone into losing weight or make them feel bad about their size. Healthy workplace initiatives are there for everybody, not to be aimed solely at one person. Workplace bullying is just as damaging to productivity as any physical issue. As long as your employees have access to comfortable chairs and have the support and facilities available to help them to lose weight if they chose to, they will enjoy their time at work. There’s no better worker than a happy worker, after all!

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Patrick Boland is the CEO of H&M Ergo Seating, who supply heavy-duty office seating. Patrick believes that comfortable employees are happier and more productive.