A Sydney office has moved to stimulate its workers, and with it productivity and health rates, by replacing deckchairs in its meeting room with treadmills.
The novel experiment was trialled last week at WeWork, a shared workspace provider, in Sydney’s CBD.
According to WeWork, the move was designed to conduct the sedentary nature of office work, where people spend eight hours or more per day sitting.
Treadmills enable office workers to walk (or jog, if they feel so inclined) during meetings, presentations and conference calls.
The special meeting room was designed as an extension to the charitable “Steptember” challenge, designed to encourage people to take at least 10,000 steps each day for the month of September as a goal for becoming more physically active.
However, WeWork said the move was only being trialled for the one week, and the company is not planning to roll out the idea nationally.
According to the federal health department, 2.6 per cent of the total disease burden Australia faces is specifically due to physical inactivity.
It said the illnesses most commonly linked to physical inactivity are diabetes, bowel and uterine cancers, dementia, breast cancer, coronary heart disease and stroke.
But there are major economic implications in addition to personal health ones, as more illness leads to employers paying for more sick days and suffering the resultant productivity hit.
The 2017 Absence Management and Wellbeing Survey found that private sector employees took an average of 9.5 days’ sick leave last year.
But employees are not the only ones susceptible to a sedentary workplace, with busy business owners potentially sacrificing exercise and physical activity during their long working days.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.