Author Profile Picture

Jamie Lawrence


Insights Director

Read more about Jamie Lawrence

News: Employees ‘blame work’ for lack of exercise


Four in ten people blame work commitments for their lack of regular exercise, according to a new report from Nuffield Health and the London School of Economics (LSE).

The report, 12 minutes more, emphasises the role that employers should be playing in encouraging staff to take exercise.

Over £7bn could be saved, says the report, if each person in the UK followed the Government’s exercise recommendations – 150 minutes a week. These savings would come from a reduced burden on the NHS and welfare systems, as well as reduced loss of earnings.

The report suggests that active people are seven percent less likely to be obese and reduce their risk of mental health problems by six percent.

Despite these economic and health benefits, 70 percent of adults don’t currently meet the Government’s exercise recommendations.

Grace Lordon, Lecturer at LSE, said: "One of the reasons people are not active is because of time pressure, so there’s a role for employers to play."

Andrew Jones, MD of Nuffield Health, believes two major trends will emerge in the employers’ role in employee health and wellbeing.

He said: "We will see a growth in GP and mental health services at work, which will be linked to the fitness agenda. There’s a real demand especially for mental health resilience services among employers.

"Health benefits for active people are priceless, but with increased pressures both in the workplace and at home, as well as the struggling economy, we, as employers, have a responsibility to help our workforce to be as resilient, fit and well as possible.

"Although helping business to develop sustainable practices is important, it is the productivity and success of our people that has the greatest impact. Poor mental health can be very isolating, support is crucial, but wellbeing programmes and prevention can do so much more."

David Mobbs, CEO, Nuffield Health, added: "It’s about employers making small changes to the work place environment, to make it more active. Doing more physical activity can mean that health can become the new wealth."

The report drew data from the Health Survey for England, as well as Continuous Household Survey, Department of Health and the Health Survey of Wales.

Employee wellbeing is a shared responsibility because both employer and employee have something to gain. Awareness-raising and frank discussions must come first. Once everyone is on the same page, HR can begin to develop systems where both company resources (for example buying power, which makes corporate gym access a possibility) and employee resources (motivation, control over diet) can come together to improve the wellbeing of individuals, teams and the workforce as a whole.

Author Profile Picture
Jamie Lawrence

Insights Director

Read more from Jamie Lawrence

Get the latest from HRZone.

Subscribe to expert insights on how to create a better workplace for both your business and its people.


Thank you.