London, 14 May, 2015 – As summer approaches, workers hoping to get fit in time for beach holidays may come up against a major obstacle: their jobs. A new survey from CareerBuilder.co.uk shows that the workplace can wreak havoc on your waistline. According to the survey, more than 2 in 5 workers (41 per cent) admit they have gained weight at their current jobs, with 18 per cent confessing they have gained more than 10 pounds. Only 13 per cent of all workers claim they’ve lost weight since working in their current position.
“Work-related stress, lack of sleep and overly packed schedules can often get in the way of healthy eating and exercise habits,” says Scott Helmes, Managing Director of CareerBuilder UK. “Poor physical health, however, can also take a toll on mental health and work quality, so it’s important for workers to stay active, even if it just means taking small breaks throughout the day to walk around or stretch.”
The national survey was conducted online on behalf of CareerBuilder.co.uk of more than 1000 employees across the UK.
Why the Weight Gain?
Sedentary roles, exhaustion and time constraints can present obstacles to staying fit. When asked what they felt contributed to their expanding waistlines, workers gave the following reasons:
- Sitting at my desk most of the day – 58 per cent
- Too tired from work to exercise - 38 per cent
- No time to exercise before or after work - 34 per cent
- Eating because of stress - 32 per cent
- The temptation of the office biscuit tin - 28 per cent
- Having to skip meals because of time constraints - 18 per cent
- Workplace celebrations – 16 per cent
- Pressure to eat food co-workers bring in - 15 per cent
- Eating out regularly - 13 per cent
- Happy hours - 6 percent
Eating and Exercise Habits
Exercise is a key part of a healthy lifestyle, but it may not be enough to keep workers in their ideal shape. Though the majority of workers (69 per cent) exercise on a regular basis, and over 2 in 5 (42 per cent) claim to work out at least three days week, half (50 per cent) of workers feel they are overweight.
Sometimes a little extra incentive can motivate individuals to work out, but the majority of workers (68 per cent) say their employers do not provide gym passes, access to workout facilities or wellbeing benefits. Of these workers, 41 per cent claim they would take advantage of such opportunities. Only a quarter of workers (24 per cent) say their company provides these types of incentives.
When it comes to eating habits, it’s hard for workers to resist the allure of snack foods and restaurant meals. Two thirds of workers (66 per cent) confess to snacking at work, and 47 per cent say they regularly eat out at work instead of packing a lunch. 22 per cent eat out three times a week or more.
Men vs. Women
The same amount of men report being overweight as women, with half (50 per cent) of both genders saying they feel overweight. Interestingly, men and women are equally as likely to exercise regularly too, with 69 per cent of men at least once per week, and 68 per cent of women.
5 Tips to maintain health and wellness at work
“Your job shouldn’t get in the way of maintaining a healthy lifestyle,” Helmes says. He offers the following tips to help even the busiest of workers maintain wellness while on the job:
- Put it on your calendar – Planning ahead and scheduling time for exercise the way you would a business meeting or conference call will make you more likely to prioritise it.
- Get moving – Add as much movement to your daily activities as possible: for instance, park further away, or get off the bus or train a stop earlier and walk the remaining distance. Consider taking the stairs instead of the lift, going for a walk during your lunch hour and walking over to someone’s desk instead of sending an email. These little things can add up.
- Stay away from fizzy drinks – Fizzy drinks contains lots of sugar and empty calories. Drink water flavored with cucumber, strawberries or lemon instead, or green tea for a caffeine boost.
- Pack a lunch – Bringing in lunch from home is an easy (and cost-effective) way to ensure you’re getting healthy ingredients and controlling your portion sizes.
- Keep healthy snacks on hand – Keep nutritious snacks like almonds, hummus, carrots and air-popped popcorn at your desk so you don’t have to rely on the vending machine or biscuit tin to curb hunger between meals.
The survey was conducted among 1003 employees in the UK. The interviews were conducted online by Redshift Research in March & April 2015 using an email invitation and an online survey. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. In this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.
CareerBuilder is the global leader in human capital solutions, helping companies target and attract great talent. Its online career site, CareerBuilder.com®, is the largest in the United States with more than 24 million unique visitors and 1 million jobs. CareerBuilder works with the world’s top employers, providing everything from labor market intelligence to talent management software and other recruitment solutions. Owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE:GCI), Tribune Company and The McClatchy Company (NYSE:MNI), CareerBuilder and its subsidiaries operate in the United States, Europe, South America, Canada and Asia. For more information, visit www.careerbuilder.com.
Georgina Routen/Shannon McGuirk