Did you hear?... Survey finds exercise and work productivity go hand-in-hand

A survey of nearly 700 office workers in the United States revealed that nearly a third of respondents -- about 31 percent -- exercise during work hours. And, just a third of respondents have access to fitness equipment provided by their company or work in an environment that promotes fitness.
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A survey of nearly 700 office workers in the United States revealed that nearly a third of respondents -- about 31 percent -- exercise during work hours. And, just a third of respondents have access to fitness equipment provided by their company or work in an environment that promotes fitness.

Results were gleaned from the "Workplace Index Survey on the Nature of Work in 2007," conducted recently by Opinion Research Corp. The purpose of the study was to examine the importance of fitness in the workplace, the role companies play in encouraging employee fitness, and the impact that fitness has on productivity levels overall.

The study also found that more often than not, employers do not provide workers with access to an exercise facility. More than 60 percent of respondents backed this up, citing not having an appropriate place to exercise at work as the primary reason for not doing so.

"Exercise is critical to our health and well being, and it is very easy to let fitness fall by the wayside when working in a corporate environment with demanding schedules and workloads," said Chris Congdon, manager of corporate marketing for Steelcase, which commissioned the study. Steelcase manufactures office furniture, and also provides products, services and insights into the ways people work.

Eighty percent of responding workers said that exercise has or would have a positive impact on their well-being and 78 percent said that exercise has or would have a positive impact on their overall productivity at work. Eight out of 10 workers also said they would use the equipment at least every other day if it were available.

"This survey reveals a desire by employees to have access to exercise equipment at work, and/or support from their companies to exercise during the work day, which could also benefit corporations with a desire to improve worker satisfaction, wellness and productivity," Congdon added.

Additional findings from the study include:

>> Eighty-five percent of respondents say that exercise gives them energy to stay awake, and 79 percent use exercise to take a necessary break from the office.

>> Fellow co-workers also play an inspirational role for others, as more than 50 percent of respondents choosing to exercise do so with colleagues for motivation.

>> Among those who exercise, 85 percent choose to walk, 25 percent go to a nearby gym, and 19 percent do some form of exercise at their desk.

>> Of equipment on employees' wish lists, the treadmill is at the top of the list (59 percent), followed by dumbbells and free weights (20 percent) or an elliptical machine (18 percent).

>> Of the 69 percent of employees that do not exercise during the workday, common reasons are: not having an appropriate place to do so (62 percent), fitness is not a priority (22 percent), it is frowned upon at the workplace (19 percent) and not having enough energy during the day (14 percent).

To check out more study results, go to www.steelcase.com.

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