Business Briefs


POSTED: Monday, March 30, 2009

How to exercise at your work desk

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.

» 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.


Companies reassessing severance

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 last two years, while 45 percent intend to cut positions in the next 12 months.

In the past, companies tended to vary severance packages from layoff to layoff, said Hewitt Associates senior consultant Lori Wisper, the lead author of the survey. Nowadays, with layoffs becoming a significant factor of corporate life, companies are formalizing or instituting severance procedures, she said.