One Third of UK Workers are ‘Desk Potatoes’

One third of UK workers (33 per cent) do no exercise and only 54 per cent feel healthy. These are the latest findings from The O.C. Tanner Institute, which surveyed 476 UK working adults at companies with 500+ employees.


The research also found that a third of UK workers haven’t seen a doctor, dentist, nutritionist or personal trainer within the past 12 months and 45 per cent have never actively monitored their blood pressure. In addition, 64 per cent have never had their cholesterol levels checked.


“The UK is turning into a nation of desk potatoes”


says Georgia Portwain, Appreciateologist from workplace culture specialist, O.C. Tanner Europe.


“Being unhealthy can impact all aspects of a person’s working life from their number of sick days and levels of productivity through to their mental alertness and how well they interact with colleagues, making it vital for organisations to encourage the adoption of healthy lifestyles.”


The Government issued guidelines via NICE in 2015 on promoting a workplace culture that improves the health and wellbeing of staff, however few organisations seem to be following these guidelines, despite 31.2 million working days being lost due to work-related ill health in 2016/17 (Health and Safety Executive).


Robert Ordever, Managing Director of O.C. Tanner Europe said;


“Organisations need to alter their attitude towards health and wellbeing. Instead of viewing it as the sole responsibility of individuals, they need to work in partnership with their staff to encourage the adoption of healthier living practices”


O.C. Tanner advocates the creation of workplace cultures that take workers’ wellbeing seriously. This could include the creation of wellbeing programmes that promote best practice behaviours and allow staff to track their day-to-day habits, from levels of exercise through to sleep patterns, via wearable technology. Wellbeing incentives and reward schemes can also encourage workers to make healthier choices.


Ordever adds,


“Partnering with staff to improve health and wellbeing is not about organisations interfering in workers’ lives, it’s about encouraging staff to make healthier life choices, should they choose to. By going down this route, organisations will help to combat the ‘desk potato’ mentality, leading to a more productive, engaged and energetic workforce.”

Need HR or Change Management advice and support?

Contact us today and get started with Resilient HR


Companies that partner with us for HR

Our Testimonials

Jackie Miles

As a Registered Charity, we obviously could not afford our own, in house, HR department. Using Resilient HR gives us this facility but is both cost and time efficient, and allows us to get on with what we do best.

YMCA Wirral