Mondays are often described as the worst day of the week.
However, this week, not only are staff battling through weekend blues, but this Monday, the first after the clocks go forward, has also been dubbed as ‘sleepy Monday’. According to Christopher Barnes, a University lecturer who coined the term, it’s the day we’ll all be less productive, more irritable and sluggish.
Although we lost an hour in bed this weekend, it’s not all bad news – the lighter evenings offer a great chance to get outdoors, have some fun and generally feel happier as daylight increases.
AXA PPP Healthcare recommend that as managers, we set a good example by giving ourselves some ‘me time’ so that we can set ourselves up to thrive, and use the lighter evenings to encourage more exercise and promote wellbeing among our workforce.
It’s also that time of year when salads and fruit are far more attractive, so consider putting a vibrantly coloured bowl of fruit in the staff kitchen to offer an alternative to vending machine crisps and chocolate.
From playing with the kids, cycling, to digging the garden, the lighter evenings of summer mean we can enjoy outdoor activities for longer and burn even more calories. Research from AXA PPP healthcare shows that over a third (39 per cent) of Brits put exercise in their top three factors that have the greatest influence on resilience while 11 per cent ranked exercise number one. However, according to a study by the British Heart Foundation, nearly half (44 per cent) of Brits don’t do any exercise at all.
It’s a great time of year to see what your business can do to encourage staff. You could look at partnering local health clubs, even if you don’t have a bog budget for benefits many are willing to offer a discount for your staff, and usually there’s no cost to you. It’s a benefit often welcomed by staff and the discount wouldn’t be classed as a salary sacrifice benefit – making it a win/win for everyone.
The warmer months also make easier to self-motivate a workout in the great outdoors, so if your company doesn’t have a running club, see if any active employees feel like starting one. If it is just for yourself, why not try getting out of the city into the hills and steady inclines of more country terrain,which gives you more fresh air and helps to build endurance fitness.
However, if you are short of time, or need something more gentle, a 30 minute walk could have some real health benefits. If staff have to travel between sites, encourage them to walk rather than take the car if it is possible, not only will it save the company fuel bills but walking also contributes towards your 30 minutes of recommended daily physical activity – which brings health benefits.
“Whether you’re new to exercise and want to become more active, or you simply want to supplement an existing exercise routine, there are many benefits of regular walking that you may not have realised. Not only good for flexibility, joint mobility, coordination and for lifting your mood and improving your energy, it has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, stroke and certain cancers”, says David Williams, fitness expert at AXA PPP healthcare.