Elevators in modern buildings are typically placed front and center, which makes them good for "universal design" and accessible to all types of people with different physical abilities. However, if you do not need the elevator, you are missing out on an opportunity to make a healthier choice.
Take the stairs and ask employers to use prompts and cues that encourage stair use:
Paint the stairwell a lighter color so that it appears brighter and less foreboding.
Add artwork to give it a personal touch and add visual interest.
Pipe in pleasant music. Some buildings are actually taking music out of elevators and putting it in the stairs to make the stair experience more desirable.
If your local building code will allow, install a magnetic "hold open" gadget on the stair door (which will release in the case of a fire). Psychologically, having a staircase that is more open feels safer — which increases use.
Want a really simple trick to nudge stair use? Studies show that just by putting up signs that explain the health benefits of taking the stairs (such as a sign in the elevator lobby that shows how many calories you can burn), stair usage increases by 54 percent!
Taking the stairs helps you to burnmore calories and has you moving more (See point #1). Taking the stairs is good for cholesterol levels and for bumping into and connecting with colleagues. Save the elevator for people who really need it.
As technology has evolved and more and more work is completed using computers, many workers have found themselves in sedentary office jobs. Leigh Stringer, author of "The Healthy Workplace," says it's not that we aren't working hard, but that "what our minds and bodies need at a basic level is in conflict with our work style. We are so focused on work, on getting things done, that we've changed the way we eat, move and sleep in a way that is actually counter-productive."
According to Stringer, taking care of worker health and wellbeing is one of the most effective ways to increase employee productivity and engagement. As an example, think back to a night when you got a full night's sleep and compare that to a night when you stayed out a bit too late with friends. How did you feel the morning after your night with friends? Probably not bright-eyed and bushy tailed, ready to take on the challenges of the day. It's important to put your health first, as everything hinges on that baseline.
So what are some of those unhealthy habits that we need to break? In this slideshow, Ms. Stringer offers up a comprehensive list of the "don'ts," with suggestions on what to do instead.