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Time to take a stand?

Employee engagement - in other words, how to help people to find motivation for work - has become a holy grail for HR professionals and business leaders. The strongest message to emerge at this week’s ‘Health and Wellbeing at Work’ conference was that employee mental and physical health sits at the very heart of engagement. Lord Richard Layard, Director of the Wellbeing programme at LSE and Co-founder of the Action for Happiness movement was truly inspiring in urging us to create workplace environments based on the philosophy of treating others well, encouraging openness at work, and training line managers in the skills of emotional literacy. And with a staggering 49% of employees reporting they’d still feel uncomfortable talking about mental health at work, it’s small wonder that Ed Miliband has called for ‘a radical improvement in mental health provision’. Wellbeing is firmly on the political agenda - and that includes our physical health. Research on sedentary behaviour commmissioned by Public Health England reveals that on average, British people sit for 8.9 hours a day, and 70% of this is at work. There’s compelling evidence that sitting for more than 4 hours a day can adversely affect our physical health. Perhaps it’s time to take a lesson from our Scandinavian counterparts, 90% of whom have sit/stand desks - and take a stand - quite literally - on workplace wellbeing.