38% want healthy living or weight loss clubs at work

More than a third (38%) of respondents would like to have access to healthy living or weight loss clubs in the workplace, according to research by Canada Life Group Insurance.

Paul Avis

Its research, which surveyed more than 900 UK employees, found that only 12% currently receive access to healthy living or weight loss clubs through their employer.

A fifth (22%) would like access to an employee assistance programme, 30% would like an outside area with seating so they can get some fresh air or stretch their legs, and 12% would like access to exercise areas.

Employees were asked to rank how easy it is to be healthy in their working environment, giving an average rating at 6.3 out of ten. Respondents in open-plan offices gave an average score of 6.1.

The research also found:

  • 34% of respondents in open-plan offices suffer from a lack of fresh air, while 13% of respondents experience headaches as a result of poor lighting.
  • 34% of respondents said that illness spreads quickly in their organisation.
  • 28% of respondents in open-plan offices said their working environment creates stress.

Paul Avis (pictured), marketing director of Canada Life Group Insurance, said: “We spend the majority of our time at work, so it’s not surprising that the type of environment you work in can have such a significant impact on health and wellbeing.

“Employers have a duty to ensure they are providing an appropriate and comfortable workspace and encourage their employees to take regular breaks away from their desks.

“Our research shows that many employees feel they are missing out on basic features such as adequate lighting and fresh air.

“With illness already prone to spreading in office environments, it’s crucial to offer a workspace that cultivates good health and wellbeing rather than damages it.

“It’s particularly concerning that a quarter of employees feel their mental wellbeing is being negatively affected by their work environment: stress is a major cause of long-term absence and can be hugely detrimental to both employee and employer.

“Putting in place an employee assistance programme can help employers to tackle issues that affect their employees’ health and wellbeing head on, and so avoid costly long-term sick pay.”