DPH Employees Take a Stand for Health in 2016

January 8, 2016

It’s the New Year and you may be among the many Georgians who have vowed to live a healthier, more active lifestyle.

However, managing a fast paced lifestyle and career can slow your efforts to get in shape – especially for office workers who spend the majority of the day nestled comfortably in front of a desk and computer screen.

The Georgia Department of Public Health’s (DPH) Worksite Wellness team took on the challenge of helping employees be physically active at work through its Standing Workstation Program Study.

After a successful trial, the team is now expanding its efforts to get employees moving more at work in 2016.

According to Susanne Koch, MS, ACSM EP-C, PES, DPH’s worksite wellness coordinator, the study included 33 DPH employees utilizing the workstations to evaluate how they impact time spent standing, blood pressure, pain, fatigue and overall employee productivity.

In four months, the results demonstrated immediate positive health impacts for participants.

“Based upon the results of the program, employees with the workstations doubled their daily steps, increased standing daily by three hours and significantly decreased self-reported fatigue. They also averaged a six point reduction in their systolic blood pressure,” Koch said.

Beyond the numbers, participants experienced improvements in their overall well-being at work, including feeling more energized and becoming more conscious of their daily physical activity levels.

Darryl Moland, DPH’s senior graphic designer, signed up for the program to jumpstart his efforts to exercise more.

“Fitness was at the forefront of my mind when the opportunity to participate in the study became available,” Moland said. “I was having pretty significant lower back problems, so it was beneficial to have the option to stand up when my chair didn’t offer the support I needed.”

Sara Roberts, WIC finance analyst, maintained her same level of fitness activity throughout the duration of the study, but did report other ways the study helped her be more aware of her health and body.

“It is a wonderful opportunity to be healthier at work and I appreciate DPH’s concern on the subject matter, especially for employees who have a high demand desk job,” she said. “Since the study has ended, I’ve become much more aware of my posture.”

Now that 2016 is in full swing, the Worksite Wellness team is ready to give more DPH employees access to standing workstations. In December 2015, portable standing workstations were installed in many conference rooms to encourage employees to keep moving even while they meet to discuss their public health work.

“We want to provide everyone an opportunity to put their health first while working,” Koch said. “Whether employees choose to stand at a desk, stand during a long meeting or simply take a brisk walk around the building, it’s important that everyone understands and enjoys movement as a part of their daily work life.” 

To learn more about DPH standing workplace study and project, contact Susanne Koch at Susanne.Koch@dph.ga.gov

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