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Deskercise for All: The Role of Inclusivity in Promoting Workplace Wellness



We’ve all heard and see it ourselves. In today's workplace, it is becoming increasingly important to prioritize the health and wellness of employees. Promoting inclusivity and deskercise are some effective ways to create a healthy and happy work environment for all employees. Inclusivity in the workplace refers to creating an environment where all employees feel valued and respected regardless of their age, race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. Deskercise refers to simple exercises that can be done at a desk or workstation to combat the negative effects of prolonged sitting. This article will explore the link between inclusivity and deskercise, and how we can implement these practices to improve workplace wellness.


The Link Between Inclusivity and Deskercise


Inclusivity and deskercise may seem like two unrelated workplace wellness practices, but they are more connected than one may think. A study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research (USA) found that employees who feel included at work are more likely to engage in healthy behaviors, such as exercise. This suggests that creating an inclusive work environment can motivate employees to prioritize their health, including incorporating deskercise into their workday.


Additionally, promoting inclusivity and deskercise in the workplace can lead to increased employee engagement and productivity. A study conducted by the Harvard Business Review found that employees who felt included at work were more likely to be engaged and productive. This suggests that by creating an inclusive work environment where employees feel valued and respected, they are more likely to be motivated to engage in healthy behaviors such as deskercise, which can lead to increased productivity.





Tips for Promoting Inclusivity and Deskercise in the Workplace


1. Provide a variety of deskercise options

Offering a variety of deskercise options can help ensure that all employees feel included and can participate in workplace wellness activities. For example, employees with physical disabilities or limitations may not be able to perform certain exercises, so providing a range of options can help ensure that everyone can participate.


2. Encourage participation

Encouraging participation in inclusivity and deskercise initiatives is key to promoting workplace wellness. Employers can do this by offering incentives or rewards for employees who participate in workplace wellness activities. Additionally, making these activities part of the company culture can help encourage participation, such as starting team-wide deskercise breaks or incorporating wellness challenges into regular meetings.


3. Train managers and supervisors

Training managers and supervisors on inclusivity and deskercise practices can help ensure that all employees feel included and encouraged to participate. This can include educating managers on the importance of creating an inclusive work environment, as well as providing resources and training on deskercise techniques.


4. Make it fun

Making inclusivity and deskercise activities fun and engaging can help encourage participation and promote workplace wellness. Employers can do this by hosting wellness challenges or competitions, offering fun and colorful equipment, or even playing upbeat music during deskercise breaks.





Example of Inclusive Deskercise Breaks


Incorporating deskercise breaks into the workday is a great way to promote workplace wellness and combat the negative effects of prolonged sitting. These breaks can include simple exercises such as desk push-ups, chair squats, or even just standing up and stretching. Offering a range of options and modifications can help ensure that all employees feel included and can participate.


Here’s an example of an inclusive deskercise routine that is accessible for everyone:


1. Ankle roll

- Extend 1 leg, keep your ankles loose by rotating them both clockwise and anti-clockwise, 3 - 5 times each on both legs.



2. Single leg knee tuck

- Sit into the back of your chair, hug one knee at a time towards your chest, hold for 10 to 30 seconds. Repeating on other leg.



3. Cross and twist

- Keep feet firmly on the ground, crossing Right leg over the left thigh. Turn chest to the right and rest arm on the back of your chair. Hold 10 to 30 seconds, repeat with the other leg.



4. Reach and side bend

- Clasp hands together above the head with palms facing out. Push your arms up, stretching upwards. C-shape the body to one side and hold pose for 10 seconds.



5. Standing shoulder stretch

- Keep feet firmly on the ground while standing, clasp your hand behind you back. Push the chest outward, and raise your chin. Hold pose 10 to 30 seconds.



6. Water bottle tricep extensions

- If you have a water bottle, hold it over your head. Bend your elbows and aim water bottle towards the back of your neck, and extend your arms back up. Repeat action for 5 to 10 repetitions.



7. Neck stretch

- Put hand behind your head, press gently into the back of your head and try to push your head back into your hands, resisting the motion. Repeat about 5 times.



Remember to breathe normally throughout the stretches, and never hold your breath. With each stretch, you may find yourself more flexible. Self-regulate your movements and go to where it feels comfortable.


About the author

Kester Lim is the Products Operations Lead at Actxa Wellness by day, and a freelance group fitness instructor by night. Guided by his purpose and passion, he hopes to help people feel good about themselves and the value they bring to the world. When he is not out and about doing so, Kester enjoys spending time with his 2 fur kids (a golden dox puppy and a ragdoll kitty) or immersing himself in the virtual world via his Playstation 5 console.



References

[1]. Pelled, L. H., & Xin, K. R. (1997). Down and Out: An Investigation of the Relationship between Inclusion and Health in Organizational Work Teams. Administrative Science Quarterly, 42(2), 328–356. https://doi.org/10.2307/2393737

[2]. Harris, R. B. (2015). How to Promote Workplace Wellness. Occupational Health & Safety, 84(1), 30–31.

[3]. Adams, J. B., & Brammer, S. (2013). Diversity and Inclusion at Work: Introduction and Definition. In J. B. Adams & S. Brammer (Eds.), Diversity and Inclusion in the Global Workplace: Aligning Initiatives with Strategic Business Goals (pp. 1–20). Routledge.

[4]. Grossmeier, J., Terry, P. E., & Cipriotti, A. (2018). The Impact of Worksite Wellness Programs on Presenteeism. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 60(6), 536–541. https://doi.org/10.1097/JOM.0000000000001288

Trudel, X., Brisson, C., Milot, A., & Mâsse, B. (2019). Deskercise: Too Good to Be True? A Field Study on the Psychological and Physiological Impacts of an Office Exercise Program. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, 11(2), 383–405. https://doi.org/10.1111/aphw.12167

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