Encourage Exercise with Walking Meetings for Remote Workers, and Other Tips

Encourage Exercise with Walking Meetings for Remote Workers, and Other Tips

When people are hired for remote jobs, they often imagine the amazing work-life balance they’ll finally have. And for the most part, that’s true, since working from home can be one of the keys to being able to take care of your personal needs as well as maintaining your career. And countless studies have shown that working from home boosts your productivity, too. But there are other important factors for remote workers to consider.

What few fail to realize is that productivity comes at a price—to their health.

Many remote workers will spend hours sitting at their computers without getting up, which can be dangerous for their health. That’s why walking is so important for remote workers.

In a study done by Montreal’s McGill University, researchers looked at how people commuted to work and found that despite bad weather, people who walked to work reported being the happiest. In fact, 86 percent were satisfied, as compared to 75 percent who took the train. Schlepping in the rain isn’t fun, but walkers reported that not having to deal with the stress of traffic and lost time played a major factor in their level of happiness.

Which might explain why, according to a Kronos survey on road rage, a mind-blowing 5 million people have called into work because they couldn’t deal with their morning commute.

Walking is extremely good for your health. Not only does walking produce endorphins, which help to relieve stress, depression, and anxiety, but walking can also help you score some better zzz’s at night, due to a boost in serotonin. Plus, the rise in body temperature helps your brain lower your temp later, making sleep more effective.

Studies have shown that a happy employee is a productive employee. That’s why it’s important that employers, whether they are of the remote or in-office variety, strive toward making employees happier. So, if you still have a portion of your staff in the office, why not take them out of the stuffy boardroom, have them lace up their sneakers, and get together for a walking meeting?

If you’re still not sure about the importance of walking meetings, keep this in mind: a study by Stanford University found that creativity spiked 60 percent when the person was walking! And while walking outside and getting some fresh air is ideal, the same effects can be gleaned even by having people walk on a treadmill.

As a remote employer, here’s how you can encourage your staffers to get some exercise while they work remotely:

1. Hold walking meetings.

Unless your employees have to incessantly refer to stats on their laptops or shuffle through papers, there’s really no reason why they need to be seated at a desk during meetings. Depending on how frequently you hold meetings, you can turn one of them into a walking meeting, particularly if it’s one where you’re giving most of the updates and your staffers are simply listening. That way, everyone can get some much-needed exercise and they might offer some invaluable insight, too.

2. Invest in standing desks.

Sitting at a desk from nine to five is so passé. As an incentive to invest in their own health, you can offer employees a small bonus to buy a standing desk. Using a standing desk has been shown to greatly improve posture and can reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes, and even cardiovascular disease and cancer.

3. Offer company-sponsored health classes.

Some companies, like FlexJobs, offer yoga to their employees as a way for them to clear their minds and stay in shape, too. As a remote employer, it’s up to you to help your employees realize that fitness can be found anywhere, even in their own home offices.

So encourage your employees to take to the track or the treadmill or take a walk around their neighborhood the next time you call an all-staff meeting. The results (increased productivity, increased creativity) might surprise you!

By Jennifer Parris | January 25, 2016 | Categories: Remote Management

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