By Daniel Hunter

As summer approaches, workers hoping to get fit in time for beach holidays may come up against a major obstacle: their jobs.

A new survey of 1,000 UK workers conducted by CareerBuilder.co.uk shows that the workplace can wreak havoc on your waistline. According to the survey, more than two in five workers (41%) admit they have gained weight at their current jobs, with 18% confessing they have gained more than 10 pounds. Only 13% of all workers claim they’ve lost weight since working in their current position.

“Work-related stress, lack of sleep and overly packed schedules can often get in the way of healthy eating and exercise habits,” said Scott Helmes, Managing Director of CareerBuilder UK.

“Poor physical health, however, can also take a toll on mental health and work quality, so it’s important for workers to stay active, even if it just means taking small breaks throughout the day to walk around or stretch.”

Why the Weight Gain?

Sedentary roles, exhaustion and time constraints are the biggest obstacles to staying fit, workers said. When asked what they felt contributed to their expanding waistlines, workers gave the following reasons:

- Sitting at my desk most of the day (58%)
- Too tired from work to exercise (38%)
- No time to exercise before or after work (34%)
- Eating because of stress (32%)
- The temptation of the office biscuit tin (28%)
- Having to skip meals because of time constraints (18%)
- Workplace celebrations (16%)
- Pressure to eat food co-workers bring in (15%)
- Eating out regularly (13%)
- Happy hours (6%)

Eating and Exercise Habits

Exercise is a key part of a healthy lifestyle, but it may not be enough to keep workers in their ideal shape. Though the majority of workers (69%) exercise on a regular basis, and more than a fifth (42%) claim to work out at least three days week, half (50%) of workers feel they are overweight.

Sometimes a little extra incentive can motivate individuals to work out, but the majority of workers (68%) say their employers do not provide gym passes, access to workout facilities or wellbeing benefits. Of these workers, 41% claim they would take advantage of such opportunities. Only a quarter of workers (24%) said their company provides these types of incentives.

When it comes to eating habits, it’s hard for workers to resist the allure of snack foods and restaurant meals. Two thirds of workers (66%) confess to snacking at work, and 47 per cent say they regularly eat out at work instead of packing a lunch. Twenty-two per cent eat out three times a week or more.

Men vs. Women

The same amount of men report being overweight as women, with half (50%) of both genders saying they feel overweight. Interestingly, men and women are equally as likely to exercise regularly too, with 69% of men at least once per week, and 68% of women.

5 Tips to maintain health and wellness at work

“Your job shouldn’t get in the way of maintaining a healthy lifestyle,” Mr Helmes said.

He offers the following tips to help even the busiest of workers maintain wellness while on the job:

Put it on your calendar

Planning ahead and scheduling time for exercise the way you would a business meeting or conference call will make you more likely to prioritise it.

Get moving

Add as much movement to your daily activities as possible: for instance, park further away, or get off the bus or train a stop earlier and walk the remaining distance. Consider taking the stairs instead of the lift, going for a walk during your lunch hour and walking over to someone’s desk instead of sending an email. These little things can add up.

Stay away from fizzy drinks

Fizzy drinks contains lots of sugar and empty calories. Drink water flavored with cucumber, strawberries or lemon instead, or green tea for a caffeine boost.

Pack a lunch

Bringing in lunch from home is an easy (and cost-effective) way to ensure you’re getting healthy ingredients and controlling your portion sizes.

]Keep healthy snacks on hand

Keep nutritious snacks like almonds, hummus, carrots and air-popped popcorn at your desk so you don’t have to rely on the vending machine or biscuit tin to curb hunger between meals.