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Healthier workplaces are better for business

By Tim Sandle     Aug 20, 2016 in Business
A new study suggests that a successful business is built both upon a safe working environment and a healthy workforce. The study makes recommendations for employers and says such measures pay dividends in the long-run.
The study is not based on a dry academic paper but realized through a vibrant working environment. The Milken Institute School of Public Health has introduced a number of health measures for staff and students and has measured the benefits.
Innovations at the school include:
Maximum light for staff;
Offices equipped with standing desks, to enable staff to exercise;
Kitchens on each floor;
Free fitness classes for employees including Zumba and yoga;
Plenty of vending machines are stocked with healthy snacks.
These activities take place within a newly designed 115,000-square-foot building which was designed with employee wellbeing in mind. Part of the driver was a recent report into obesity levels in the U.S. Here over 35 percent of U.S. adults have obesity. The number of full-time workers who are overweight or obese that miss work totals 450 million ‘lost’ days and this costs U.S. businesses $153 billion in lost productivity each year.
Speaking with Laboratory Manager, school representative Nicola Dawkins-Lyn said: “With the prevalence and the cost of obesity standing so high, we really need to marry that with real strategies that can bring to bear on this issue.”
She also added: “Worksites are a primary setting where environmental and policy changes can help to move the needle to control adult obesity.”
In relation to healthy workplaces in general, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has conducted a review of 47 intervention strategies and considered these against three outcomes: body mass index (BMI), weight and percent body fat. Most employee wellbeing measures were shown to make a positive contribution against these measures.
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