A study that re-engineered an office to increase daily physical activity resulted in workers losing weight – without losing productivity.
Mayo Clinic endocrinologist James Levine, M.D., Ph.D., completed the 6-month study at SALO LLC, a Minneapolis-based financial staffing firm. Of the 45 employee volunteers who participated in the study, 18 were evaluated for weight loss and other changes.
The re-engineering changes included:
- Removing chairs and traditional desk seating;
- Introducing walking tracks;
- Educating and encouraging staff to conduct walking meetings;
- Replacing traditional phones with mobile sets;
- Adding desks attached to treadmills;
- Introducing games in the workplace;
- Providing high-tech activity monitors; and
- Advising staff about nutrition.
As a result, the 18 individuals lost a total of 156 pounds, 143 of that in body fat. Each person lost an average of 8.8 pounds, 90 percent of which was fat. The nine participants who had expressed a desire to lose weight lost an average of 15.4 pounds.
In addition, the new environment did not lead to any loss in productivity. In fact, company officials say revenue rose nearly 10 percent during the first 3 months of the study. The company also recorded its highest-ever monthly revenue in January 2008 – the study’s midpoint.
According to the study results, this “office of the future” may be a functional environment that can enhance weight loss and maintain workers’ health.