Couch potatoes beware! If you think that you can exchange one couch at home for one at work, think again! The wellness police have a surprise for you. Coming soon to an office near you: treadmills that double as workstations. Walking meetings. Conference rooms outfitted with exercise bikes instead of oval tables and chairs.
This is not the stuff of the future. All of this and more was rolled out recently at Minneapolis employment firm Salo.
The company partnered with Mayo Clinic endocrinologist James Levine, M.D in a study that ascertained whether a moving office would result in employee weight loss.
Mayo Clinic endocrinologist James Levine, M.D., Ph.D., has continued his research in environment-changing innovations with a six-month study of a real-life office that was re-engineered to increase daily physical activity or NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis).
The study began in late 2007 and ended in 2008. Of the 45 employee volunteers involved in the scientific study, 18 were studied for weight loss and other changes.
- Removing chairs and traditional desk seating
- Introducing walking tracks
- Educating and encouraging staff to conduct walking meetings
- Replacing traditional phones with mobile sets
- Adding desks attached to treadmills
- Introducing games in the workplace
- Providing high-tech activity monitors
- Advising staff about nutrition
Over the course of the six-month study, the 18 volunteers lost a total of 156 pounds, or an average 8.8 pounds per person. 90 percent of that was fat. Triglycerides decreased by an average of 37 percent. The nine participants who had expressed a desire to lose weight lost an average of 15.4 pounds.
Another key finding of the Salo-Mayo study was that productivity was not lost due to the new environment. Salo’s revenue increased nearly 10 percent during the first three months of the study and the company recorded its highest-ever monthly revenue in January 2008, at the midpoint of the research.
Read more about Dr Levine’s approach.