"It often comes down to breaking down the barriers as to why people aren't doing it on their own," explains Debbi Brooks, the company's employee wellness program expert. Companies need to make it convenient for workers, offer incentives and find the programs that appeal to particular groups and individuals.
Brooks says she finds that IT workers tend to "feed off each other and cheer each other on," so they like to exercise together and compare results. They like their gadgets, so social networking tools and smart phone programs that let them track fitness progress have been popular, too. And considering the demanding hours that IT often works, flexibility is key.
Telecommunications analyst Tom Walsh says that last one really helped him. He took part in a 10-week nutrition and wellness program offered through his company, Health Care Service Corp.
"Having it at work made it much easier to be part of it," he says. As did his manager's support, he says. His manager adjusted his morning start time by a half-hour to accommodate morning workouts. The ROI was impressive: Walsh dropped 60 pounds, came off his blood pressure medicine and is looking at getting off his cholesterol and diabetes medicine, too.
Pratt is a Computerworld contributing writer in Waltham, Mass. Contact her at email@example.com.
Your Best Work Posture
The market for ergonomic products has come up with some healthier alternatives to the traditional desk. There's the desk that lets you stand up. There's also a treadmill desk, which, as you can imagine, allows you to exercise while you work.
But Tom Revelle, vice president of marketing at Humanscale, which designs and manufacturers ergonomic tools in New York City, says the best desk is one that adjusts to your own individual needs so you can maintain the best posture you can throughout the day.
That doesn't mean you should be sitting ram-rod straight at your desk. Rather, you want to be reclining slightly in your chair, so that the chair takes the weight off your back, he says.
To do that, try the following:
* Move the keyboard off your desktop; instead, put it on an adjustable shelf below the desktop or put it in your lap.
* Get a good ergonomic chair that allows you to lean back and adjust the tension on that back support. (It should be adjustable for height, too.)
* Move your monitor up to the front of your desk when you're working on the computer and move it back when you need desk space, so you're not leaning forward to see the screen.
* And get some really good task lighting for your desk. Very few people need to stand up all day, Revelle says. And he suspects most people may have a hard time working and walking on a treadmill simultaneously.