As a result of demographic change and the increased retirement age, employees will become older in the future and the probability of health complaints will increase. However, it is older employees in particular who usually possess indispensable specialist knowledge and competence. In times of a shortage of skilled workers, companies can hardly afford to do without it. They need employees who are efficient and productive. However, they can only win or keep them if they take care of their well-being. And it is no longer just a matter of the basket of fresh fruit in the kitchen.
Health promotion also promotes the image and reputation of an employer. Good working conditions quickly spread in the industry, especially in a digitalised world. Thus, in addition to the actual positive effects of such programmes, the loyalty of employees to the company is strengthened and, under certain circumstances, a convincing argument is presented to the competition for qualified personnel.
The majority of people in the western world spend more than half of their time sitting or lying down. But our bodies are simply not made for it. In Germany, the desk is the linchpin of about 17 million employees' work. Regardless of industry or career level, the computer is today the most important medium for almost all employees and it is usually operated sitting down. This fact will not change in the near future, and therefor the desk will remain the place where most of us will carry out our tasks in the future.
The dangers of sitting constantly can hardly be overestimated. According to a study by DKV in cooperation with the German Sport University Cologne, 85% of the adult population is already exercising far too little. Physicians consider lack of exercise to be one of the greatest risk factors in connection with cardiovascular diseases and obesity. Arizona State University has calculated that every sitting hour reduces life expectancy by about 22 minutes. The comparison may sound drastic, but this makes sitting as harmful as tobacco consumption. Anyway, sitting is only one problematic aspect among many that the economy of the future will have to face. But what can be done to activate employees during working hours and to promote awareness for the sustainable use of one's own body?
At ARTS, for example, employees have the opportunity to work at standing workplaces. The height of the table can be adjusted according to body size. This promotes blood circulation and leads to more energy and better concentration. In addition, the muscles are strengthened and the occurrence of back pain is reduced.
Smart health management is an investment in the future of your own company. Large corporations and technology companies recognized this potential early on. As a rule, they even have their own employees who are exclusively concerned with the well-being of their own workforce, both physically and mentally. Corporate Health is a comprehensive term for all measures that help employees to perform their job as long, as healthily and as efficiently as possible. The task is therefore not just to make isolated offers, but to establish structures that create a health-promoting climate and a corresponding communication culture.
As an employer, this means asking yourself first: How can I relieve my employees of health problems, what complaints could arise and how can effective prevention be achieved? It is important to assess hazards, regardless of whether work is carried out almost exclusively in a seated position or heavy objects need to be lifted. Then measures can also be developed and offered that noticeably lead to positive results. For example, a company can offer Pilates, gymnastics, back fitness courses or relaxation exercises, bring in appropriate experts and therapists, or offer seminars to reduce stress and promote resilience. But it can also question its own organisation and improve the working process in general. Sometimes even small changes have a big effect. Be it the purchase of plants or the procurement of simple technical aids, especially in areas where physical work can be simplified. Incentives and bonus programs are also effective methods of sensitizing employees to health promotion.
How comprehensively and successfully Corporate Health can be used in a company can be seen on the campus of a large Berlin e-commerce provider. Last year, a new canteen was opened there for the approximately 6,000 local employees, offering inexpensive, freshly prepared and healthy meals every day. In addition, checkups, cooking and sports courses will be offered free of charge at annual Health Days with a corresponding event character, and employees will be encouraged to make their own suggestions. Monthly surveys help identify problems early and continuously improve the environment within the company. Of course, not all companies can afford their own fitness studios or therapists, but if they succeed in integrating the idea of Corporate Health into their own culture, large and small companies can only benefit.
As an employer, ARTS also attaches great importance to the well-being and health promotion of its own employees. The focus is not only on physical and cognitive fitness, but also on experiencing activities together. This includes table tennis in our own creative room, which is always accessible to everyone. All chairs and tables were renewed 18 months ago and a moss wall was installed in the office, which contributes to a healthy indoor climate. To reduce the background noise, the printer was placed in a separate room. ARTS also regularly participates in sports events with its own team. For example, employees are encouraged to take part in company runs together, or to become part of the ARTS volleyball team, which trains regularly and, in the best case, is perhaps the best ambassador for an active and sustainable company culture.
And this may also be the key to sensible, well-scaled health management. It does not necessarily require expensive experts or complex technical solutions - good communication and the possibility of participation are the basis on which much can be achieved together. One must not forget: Corporate Health is a win-win situation for everyone. On the one hand, the health of employees is improved. On the other hand, absenteeism due to illness is minimized and - perhaps the most important aspect of all - employees come to work with more energy and joy.
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