As Australians return to work after the summer holidays, Medibank is encouraging everyone to improve their health and wellbeing in 2016 by introducing better workplace habits.
According to Medibank research, 72 per cent of Australians identify employee health and wellbeing as one of the three most important elements for a good workplace, and more than one in four express concerns about the impact of their work environment on their personal health.
Medibank Medical Director, Dr Kevin Cheng, says there are a number of simple ways Australians can improve their health and wellbeing – and performance and productivity – while at work.
'Each and every year, we see Aussies make a plethora of New Year's resolutions focused on fitness and health, yet most are based on dieting or exercise regimes.
'With more than half of our waking day spent at work – it's important to consider how we can better our health during this time too," said Dr Cheng.
Dr Cheng has outlined some top tips to improve health and wellbeing while at work:
1. Snack mindfully and eat well: Bringing your own snacks and lunch to work can help you control the type of food you eat. If you find it hard to find time to make lunch, aim to at least bring healthy snacks such as fruits and nuts to maintain energy and concentration while at work.
2. Alternate your environment: Many workplaces have started introducing standing desks to counteract the negative effects of sitting for too long – yet there's still a lot more you can do to make sure you're alternating your movements during the workday. A recent study found that replacing sedentary behaviour with walking or moderate-to-vigorous physical activity significantly reduced the mortality risk for adults aged 45 and above. So, consider taking a walking meeting with colleagues, a standing brainstorm or even taking the long-route to the printer or water cooler.
3. Take a break: For those working in an office, sitting at your desk for prolonged hours will often make you feel tired and sluggish. Try and take a walk-break every hour, stand up when you're making a phone call, and don't forget your lunch break! Taking a lunch break will not only improve your health, but also reduce your levels of stress and improve productivity.
4. Quench your thirst by staying hydrated: Throughout the day, concentration levels may start to drop and the survival potion to stay alert is often a coffee fix or a can of soft drink with high caffeine. One of the contributing factors to a dip in mood and energy levels is due to dehydration - making it hard to focus on the task at hand. The trick is to stay hydrated with water; if you want to mix it up, some alternative beverages include coconut water, tea, or flavoured H2O.
'By implementing healthy habits in the workplace, Australians will be able to reduce sick leave, stress levels as well as protect themselves from prolonged injuries and chronic pain.
'Improving your health and wellbeing is a lifestyle change, and that means changing your habits during your personal time as well as at work.
'At Medibank, we've introduced a number of initiatives to support employees' health and wellbeing. For example, we have an activity-based office environment which encourages people to alternate between sitting and standing desks, and our internal stairs certainly get a lot of use," said Dr Cheng.
Medibank has also partnered with corporate organisations to offer a specially designed health insurance product at a discounted rate. Medibank Corporate Health Cover is available to partner organisation employees and their immediate families where they are on the same policy. Check if you're eligible by searching for your employer on www.medibank.com.au/health-insurance/work-your-perks/.
Medibank is Australia's leading private health insurer, providing private health insurance to approximately 3.9 million people through its Medibank and ahm brands. Customers can access Medibank's products and services through more than 80 retail stores, as well as digital and telephone platforms. Medibank also provides a range of complementary healthcare services including healthcare management services for government and corporate clients, online and telephone-based health services and the distribution of travel, life and pet insurance.