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Engineering multisectoral synergies to achieve work-life balance

Author: Gabriel Tabona
Copyrights: Nikkofiti Zumba

Engineering multisectoral synergies to achieve work-life balance

Nikkofiti Zumba’s Nicholas Wichenje gives his diagnosis on work-life balance and physical activity.

In a competitive workplace which prioritises results regardless of occupational safety policies, employees run the risk of falling into depression—which about 300 million people worldwide suffer from— and non-communicable diseases (NCDs). According to the World Health Organization, these account for about 27% of deaths suffered by Kenyans aged 30 to 70 years.

Participating in physical activity is considered an essential factor in achieving work-life balance, so representation bodies like the Federation of Kenya Employers and Central Organization of Trade Union need to negotiate collective bargaining agreements favouring workers’ mental health.

Employers should encourage employees to create that balance as in the end it will boost their efficiency and productivity at work and in life in general,” says Nicholas Wichenje, the brainchild behind Nikkofiti Zumba, a fitness programme which uses a target-based approach to give clients something to look forward to weekly by incorporating dance and music.

Urban planning can have a direct impact on how employees enjoy work-life balance. Kenya’s housing deficit of over 200,000 housing units means available recreational spaces may diminish in the future, hence employers may emphasise work over sports days. “Physical spaces such as parks and gymnasiums should be kept 'sacred' and un-interfered with when it comes to urban planning,” adds Nicholas when asked about urban planning and active lifestyles.

Nicholas concurs that too much study time or leisure time is being spent in food courts or digital play stations— a reason why there needs to be innovative synergies to help reverse adverse effects of obesity and depression. Kenyatta University’s own High Performance Centre can benefit the public if they join forces with sports federations and the ministry of education, to deliver injury prevention programmes like the FIFA 11+ for school children.

The Kenya Academy of Sports, Kenya Alliance of Resident Association and video game manufacturers like EA Sports can also team up to offer sports incentives which reward children who play more, as opposed to video games, in neighbourhoods of Nairobi.

Thanks to technology, Apple device owners can now take timely interventions against lifestyle diseases through a health-monitoring app created in conjunction with Nike.

Work-life balance cuts across all spheres of life, beyond the precincts of the workplace. Therefore, giving workers flexible hours to enjoy social life will help reduce health expenditure associated with NCDs and mental health.

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Tuesday, March 19, 2019 - 13:44

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