Covid-19 has dominated the global news agenda for almost two years now, during which time people all over the world have had to drastically change the way they work and live their lives, due to the restrictions brought in to manage the pandemic. Now, as we begin to navigate the ‘new normal’, the virus continues to leave its mark with weight gain, mental health, and social anxiety concerns for many of the population.
According to multi-market research we recently carried out with Ipsos MRBI, weight gain was a significant concern for a third of people in the workforce over the last year. There was also the opportunity for increased, unhealthy snacking. This reflects the findings of an earlier report we partnered with the Economist Intelligence Unit on, which highlighted how working from home led to prolonged periods of sitting without regular breaks, something that’s linked to a wide range of health complications, including poor cardiovascular health and an increased risk of diabetes.
As we emerge from the pandemic, people are truly appreciating the fact that their health is indeed their wealth, and the importance of proactively managing our health and wellbeing has been brought into sharp focus. I believe there is an opportunity for employers to take this onboard in a meaningful way and look at how they can help their staff to prioritise overall health and wellbeing as a central part of the new hybrid working model that many organisations are rolling out.
Working from home changed dynamic of day
For many of us, a large portion of our day is spent working, with the average person spending 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime. Working from home has significantly changed the dynamic of the working day and for many, the absence of a commute has meant a far more sedentary life.
With this in mind, enabling employees to focus on their health and wellness throughout the working day makes sense on a number of levels. Not only does it have the potential to improve employee health, but it can also boost company morale and bring workforces together after a prolonged period apart and may even positively impact employee productivity.
This could be something as simple as introducing team step challenges to encourage everyone to step away from the desk during the day or providing access to on-site or online exercise and wellness classes, like yoga, HIIT or pilates. Creating a space, virtually or in person, where staff can share healthy recipes such as an online staff cookbook or a recipe noticeboard, may also be a nice way to bring people together and encourage healthy lifestyle choices.
Covid-19 has turned our world upside down over the past couple of years and weight gain has emerged as a key concern for many. So, it seems timely that we use this World Diabetes Day as an opportunity to shine a light on the value and importance of proactively managing our overall health through diet and exercise to prevent and reduce the risk of diseases like type 2 diabetes.