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Wednesday focus: The workplace

Wed., March 25, 2009, midnight

Working out after or before work not working out? Make your desk a gym, says the Mayo Health Clinic.

Some ways to incorporate exercise into office life:

•When you need to talk to a co-worker, walk to other desks and offices rather than calling or instant-messaging.

•Use a fitness ball in place of a regular desk chair.

•When walking to and from work – or at any time in your day – move quickly.

•Instead of going on a coffee break, take a “fitness break.” Go on a walk, do stretches or easy muscle-building exercises with equipment you can store in your desk, such as resistance bands or small hand weights.

•See if you can find others who want to increase their activity level to join you on a lunchtime stroll. Regularly scheduled exercise with a group makes you more likely to stay involved, the Mayo Clinic says, and is also a nice social opportunity.

•Stand, don’t sit. Just getting up burns more calories than if you remain seated for hours at a stretch.

•Make your commute an opportunity to move. Bike to work if possible, or get off public transportation before your final destination and hike the rest of the way. If driving, park as far away as is reasonable. And, of course, take the stairs.

•There are treadmill desks on the market that let you use a phone and computer. Find out if such equipment is a possibility in your workplace.

Goodbye packages changing: Rising layoffs are making companies think twice about their severance plans, according to a recent survey.

Companies are thinking about changing the makeup of the packages they provide to outgoing non-executive employees, which often include cash payments and benefits such as health care and outplacement assistance.

The poll, by Hewitt Associates in December, elicited replies from 228 companies about their severance packages for non-unionized workers. Nearly a third of companies’ human-resources departments said they were thinking about changing their plans, while 20 percent said they definitely were – with the greatest change coming in reducing cash payments.

Of the companies surveyed, 80 percent had cut jobs in the past two years, while 45 percent intended to cut positions in the next 12 months.

Associated Press


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