NEWS: ‘Movement’ key to productivity at work, says health secretary

Health secretary Matt Hancock has called on businesses to help employees stay active in order to boost wellbeing and productivity.

“Workplaces can make a difference; encouraging breaks, offering standing desks, having standing meetings - which in my experience tend to finish quicker too,” he told the International Society for Physical Activity and Health Congress in London held last October.

“I know from personal experience that having a standing desk can help you get some exercise and improve your productivity at work,” he said, adding: “Our message should be that movement is medicine.”

His comments come as the International Labour Organisation campaign to get 100 million people more active by 2030 embarks on its second year. 

In the global action plan on physical activity 2018 – 2030 report the ILO sets out work to be done by stakeholders including employers, researchers and member states.

“It is important that adults can be physically active and less sedentary at work,” it says, linking regular physical activity to the prevention of diseases including heart disease, stroke, diabetes and breast and colon cancer. “It also helps to prevent hypertension, overweight and obesity and can improve mental health, quality of life and wellbeing."

Being physically active and less sedentary at work is linked to improved wellbeing and productivity. Photograph: iStock