10 Steps to a Lean Business & Increased Productivity

By Robb Evans

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reports that nearly two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese, with rates continuing to rise daily. (1) Overweight and obesity is a major public health issue in Australia and around the world and greatly contributes to risk factors of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and mental health issues. Time Magazine reports that obesity now costs the world $2 Trillion per year. (2) Gallup, Duke University Medical Center in USA report that work-related injuries of obese employees are 25% higher, medical claims costs are seven times higher and they average 10 times more days off for a work injury or illness compared to those with a healthy weight. BMJ Open report that of the 50 studies (3) they analyzed, it was clear that there are substantial costs due to lost productivity amongst workers with obesity.

What is obesity costing YOU and your business?

All successful businesses have a business plan with a focus primarily on financial analysis. However, should we be measuring success with other factors in mind as well? Perhaps it’s time to reflect on the operations of your own business and create a series of health metrics relating to sick leave, loss of productivity, presenteeism, turnover, death and the link between these results and the level of overweight and obese people in your business…. including yourself! What gets measured gets done! Tracking this data will enable you to draw conclusions as to the extent that the health of your employees is having on the financial performance of your business.

You wouldn’t allow a recurring unnecessary cost in your business to keep draining resources if you had a solution. Right? Chances are, obesity is having a direct negative impact on your bottom line as you read this article.

Overweight and obesity issues are caused by several different factors, but by far the most common is lifestyle choices. Consuming too many calories in food and drink compared to the number of calories you are burning off through physical activity each day. As success drives your business further forward, your time can appear to be “stolen” from you, and your employees and more excuses can be made to justify sedentary behaviors.

“The key is to make health a component of your business success strategy. If you or your employees aren’t healthy, your business won’t be as healthy, productive and profitable.”- Robb Evans

The great news is that changing sedentary behaviors to active is just a slight shift in focus each day and one of the easiest ways to reduce obesity and its risks.

There are 10 Steps you can start performing today to be more active, burn more calories and take no extra time. All that is necessary is directed attention during your workday, through simple physical activities performed consistently.

Step #1

Park the car further away and take the stairs instead of the elevator. You can adopt this same approach when completing day-to-day tasks such as shopping, going to an appointment, running errands, etc. Every additional step made during the day adds up to more burnt calories.

Step #2

Walk or ride your bike to work. If you take the bus or catch a train, get off a stop or two before you need and walk the rest of the way.

Step #3

Inter-office email, messaging and the phone can be impersonal and make you lazy. Consider substituting the technology by hand delivering messages or meeting face to face to discuss an issue.

Step #4

Look for opportunities to stand whenever you can. You burn more calories standing up than you do sitting down. Try using a standing desk or improvise with a high table or counter. Eat lunch standing up or while taking a walk.

Step #5

Instead of taking a coffee break sitting down, go for a brisk walk. You may be surprised at how quickly the concept of walking coffee breaks amongst your friends and colleagues will catch on.

Step #6

Get a head set for your office phone so you can walk and talk or at least move around your desk while you’re still working and talking.

Step #7

Conduct a meeting on the go. This is not something that can work all the time, but when it’s practical, schedule walking or even running meetings or brainstorming sessions.

Step #8

Consider replacing your chair with a fit ball to promote good posture. Even sitting up straight on a chair whilst working can help you passively work out your abdominal muscles whilst burning extra calories in the process!

Step #9

A 10-minute workout can make a difference to the calories you burn and your overall health and well-being.

Step #10

Embrace wearable technology to monitor your number of daily steps you take and make a conscious effort to move more during the day. Simply wearing the device and regularly referring to it creates focus and progression in your activity level. You should aim to take 10,000+ steps every day.

There are NO excuses! Implementing these 10 Steps will not only impact your own health but will provide more productive employees, reduced absenteeism and presenteeism, decreased staff turnover and more profitability. Don’t hesitate. Act now!

(1) A Picture of Overweight and Obesity in Australia” – 24 November 2017
(2) McKinsey Global Institute – November 2014