As I have been making many lifestyle changes to get back to a healthier version of myself, I have been thinking a lot about what sabotages health to begin with. I know that, for me, one of the barriers has been my work commitments.
- We spend more waking hours at our jobs than at home – where an entirely different set of responsibilities awaits us.
- If we want advancement in the workplace, we are expected to get those hours in.
- Most employers don’t have on-site fitness facilities. Just 12%.
- Too many employers frown on any time you take being away from your desk – note this extreme but not surprising example. (And I admit that I most often even eat my lunch at my desk for fear of looking unproductive, as much as my keyboard suffers for it.)
Consider also that obesity is an epidemic in the US that impacts our productivity. Employers can improve their ROI by improving the health of their employees. Because of the aspects of employment already mentioned, employers are uniquely positioned to make a tremendous impact in the health of the nation. They set the tone on the way that we live. And unless you work for one of those 12% of companies that have on-site fitness facilities (and some that have them still charge membership to their employees – not kidding), you have an out of pocket cost that sets up an additional barrier.
Time. Cost. Motivation. Support. These are the things that we can be afforded that are largely being denied us due to a short-sighted view of productivity. We ultimately need to change our minds about what productivity looks like, what our roles in one another’s health is, and what is important.
I want us to all start the conversation with our employers to get this moving in the right direction. We need to own our health and so need to speak out for ourselves and the coworkers we care about (and those we don’t). There are many programs out there you can suggest to your employer. Get armed with info and go for it.
Does your employer support your health goals? Are you able to achieve fitness at work? Tell me about it in the comments.