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Team Eames: What are some ways in which employers could encourage employees to walk more and sit less?

Mental Health Awareness Week

​​​This Mental Health Awareness Week, we interviewed some of our team asking them to share their thoughts on taking care of their mental health, what more employers can do to support their employee's mental health and some ways in which they can encourage staff to walk more and sit less.

The theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week this year is nature. Research on the mental health impacts of the pandemic showed going for walks outside was one of our top coping strategies and 45% of us reported being in green spaces had been vital for our mental health.

We asked #TeamEames: What are some ways in which employers could encourage employees to walk more and sit less?

  • "I would encourage employers to arrange regular walking hours throughout the week where people feel able to take time away from their desks/home to be with nature and (hopefully!) enjoy the sunshine."Lauren Seal, Partner & Head of HR & Operations, UK

  • "The Strava challenges that we’ve done definitely helped me – recruiters are competitive animals, so giving people a target and introducing an element of competition gets people off their sofa. Asking people to post photos of places they’ve walked might also help, nobody can really go anywhere, so living vicariously through photos of Singapore waterfront and the Hong Kong peak is interesting, although, given our influx of recruits from Stoke, we should limit the number of Potteries photos allowed." Richard Wiliams, Director of Finance & Operations

  • "Encourage employees to go out during the weekend to take some photos around their neighbourhood (Nature), give a brief introduction, then the rest of the team can guess “Who’s neighbourhood is it.” Jojo Yeung, Operations Manager, Hong Kong

  • "Employers could provide a standing table so that employees have a choice to stand and do their work."Jasper Ang, Assocaite Consultant, Singapore

  • "There are lots of ways to encourage employees to move more – walking meetings, standing desks. Even removing chairs in meetings rooms can help or introducing stability balls. Taking a 5-minute break every 55 minutes, or walking up the stairs instead of taking the lift. Using wearable devices and introducing steps challenges for charity, and the list goes on!" Matthew Eames, Founder & CEO

  • "Walking catch-ups. If you don’t need to be sat behind a laptop or taking lots of notes then take it outside!" Sophie Daniel, L&D & HR consultant, UK

  • "Walking coffee catch-ups or meetings and encouraging people to leave the office at lunch." Danielle Rainert, Head of People & Performance, UK

  • "Meeting rooms with treadmills or bikes, giving employees an extra hour/time off during the month specifically allocated to outdoor time. Encouraging all employees to post their weekly/monthly selfie having a walk or run outdoors and walking 1-2-1s or catch-ups rather than in a meeting room." Daniel Navazesh, Partner & Director, UK

  • "There is lots of data out there to suggest multiple short walks each day (particularly after eating) can drastically improve your physical health as well as having a positive effect on your mental health. A movement towards more open/fluid workspaces and ensuring people aren’t glued to their desk over lunch would no doubt pay dividends in terms of productivity and longevity."Liam O'Mahoney, Partner & Associate Director, UK

  • "Encourage “walk and talk” – where meetings happen on the move. Great for mental health, great for physical health and also good for ideas generation."Ruth Foster, Chief People Officer

  • "This one I have lots of ideas! An active hour in addition to lunch for employees to be active, getting out and about and tackling the risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle . Ensure that in the office, twice a day people go for a walk, I’m an advocate of Bluetooth headsets so people can walk. Give staff access to stretches to do at their desks and standing desks." Abigail Moss, Associate Director, UK

  • "Similar set up to Fitbit rewards. If there are a certain number of steps of distances hit on a weekly/monthly basis, then this will mean rewards, or there can be group competitions to keep it competitive, as we work in a competitive environment already." Robin Muir, Partner & Senior Principal Consultant, UK

  • "It's important to ensure employees take a break, get away from their desks and get a breath of fresh air. Organising company events, fitness sessions and CSR events are good ways to get people moving." Daniel Warwick, Managing Director

  • "One way to achieve that is really implementing the flexible working – flexible, meaning, the job will get done but in one’s own time. In addition, initiatives such as the one we have at Eames (our Strava group) definitely help!" Rafaela Fakhre, Principal Consultant, UK

  • "Removing chairs in meeting rooms, encouraging more outdoor team meetings – ie: team catch-ups over coffee out of the office or suggesting people dial into conference calls from their garden or the park. I think this is happening naturally anyway, especially because of the pandemic and flexibility we all now have to work in a more agile way." Glen Roberts, Partner & Director, UK

  • "Just like how Eames has introduced the new “On Your Feet Eames” steps challenge to get all of us to walk more and raise funds for charity!" Abigail Lee, Principal Consultant, Singapore

  • "Taking regular breaks after a certain amount of time at their desks, walking to and from work and taking a walk during lunchtime rather than staying in the office."Nigel Ma, Senior Consultant, Singapore