Like it or not, we’re all a little more sedentary than we used to be. Not only are we spending more time in front of our computers, but we’re doing it for longer periods of time. And, not surprisingly, it’s not very good for us. 

“Its a hard thing to avoid in modern society, but the problem with sitting in front of the computer all day is that it's not very good physically and metabolically for the body,” explained personal trainer Michael Hennessy of OUTFIT health + fitness. “The body performs much better when it's moving, or when its standing.”

With that in mind, Coca-Cola is rolling out a global program to encourage its employees to improve their health. Here in Australia, staff have received subsidies with which to purchase sporting and health equipment. Throughout the week, employees can participate in a series of healthy activities, including a run club, lunch-time pilates and an ‘urban circuit’ on Thursday nights. Adding in some competitive fun is an initiative where staff wear activity trackers and compete for the most number of steps during the week. 

The idea is to give people opportunity to fit exercise into the average workday. Talent and Development Director ASEAN and CCSP, Amy Stanley, understands how difficult it can be to find time for exercise with a hectic career and home life. “I work full-time, but I have a three year old and an eleven-month old baby. Theres very little time left for exercising!” she laughed. “ A lot of people, like myself, are a little time poor and dont get to the gym as often as theyd like.”

 Michael and the team from OUTFIT health + fitness have been brought on board to assist the staff in improving their wellbeing, and have designed a program with people’s busy schedules very much in mind. “We've tried to offer a range of activities at different times to suit different people,” he explained. “Having a challenge like the tracker challenge gives people the opportunity to fit exercise in all the time. It encourages people to take breaks during the day to be more active.”

Promoting the entire wellbeing of a staff is a relatively new movement in the business world, and Amy said that Coca-Cola is well aware of its benefits. “It's just good practice. We want our staff to be healthy,” she said.  “It reduces the incidence of illnesses. When you have people turning up to work ill, theyre less productive, and those germs get spread around the office. And, exercising is quite important to mental health, and that's really important to us for our employees.”

And, as well as being a feel-good initiative, taking care of employees’ health has serious impact - on the bottom line. “If you look at the differences in productivity with healthy staff, or even the reduced cost of not having to train, hire and recruit new staff, it's definitely a cost-benefit issue for businesses,” said Michael. “If youve got happier staff, you reduce turnover and reduce costs. More active staff are more productive, and often more creative as well.”