Fitness in the workplace

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27 February 2020

A lot of us spend our day sitting at desks, working with computers and not really moving about so much. Staff fitness doesn’t really seem to be something at the front of our minds.

But with 6.9 million working days a year lost to musculoskeletal disorders in the UK, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re promoting the idea of health and fitness in the workplace.

 

What are the benefits of fitness in the workplace?

There are several important ways that promoting health and fitness in the workplace brings benefits to your business:

  1. It reduces absence

Workplace absence is predicted to cost the UK economy a staggering £26 billion by 2030. Heading off some of that cost by ensuring your workforce is fit and happy is a good idea. Fitter employees are much less likely to need time off due to sickness, as a healthy body is much better at heading off illnesses, and recovers faster should they fall victim.

  1. It means better performance

It stands to reason that fitter employees can work harder and put in a lot more effort than those who remain sedentary. Of course, some people work incredibly hard without ever really moving about much at all—but even they would benefit from a good fitness programme. In fact, exercise and work productivity statistics show that exercising can increase work output by as much as 21%.

  1. It brings teams together

A shared goal that doesn’t necessarily involve day-to-day working tasks is a great way to foster team cohesion. Whether it’s a weight loss programme, training for a sponsored 5K or weekly yoga sessions together, you’ll find that people bond quickly over physical effort—and bonded teams are productive teams.

 

How do I go about promoting employee fitness?

It’s important to remember that a good employee fitness and wellness program in the workplace should be voluntary, non-intrusive and inclusive of people of all fitness levels and abilities. While you yourself might be an avid climber or mountain biker, but not everyone in the office will have the right equipment or head for heights!

Start off small. Encourage people to walk to work instead of driving, or even just to get off the bus a stop early. An employee fitness program doesn’t have to mean everyone hits the gym on Monday morning! But here are a few more ideas that’ll increase employee fitness and productivity in the workplace:

  • Standing desks: these might not seem especially active—and really, they’re not—but standing occasionally rather than sitting all day encourages the use of different muscle groups. It’s about the benefits of simply moving a little more.
  • App challenges: some wellness apps allow you to organise teams and issue challenges. Something like the total number of steps by a team in a month, for instance, with the winning team getting recognition and a small prize.
  • Charity activities: Wherever you are, there are charities organising sponsored runs all the time. Get people signed up to something short like a 5K—it’ll encourage exercise and camaraderie as you’ve never seen before.

 

What about employee fitness benefits?

Rather than trying to put together an employee fitness programme yourself, you could always use an external company that provides employee benefits. Many places will offer discounted gym memberships, apps with step trackers, and great deals on healthy food. And providing an employee benefit like this looks great for your reputation!

 

Health Assured are experts in workplace wellbeing—if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 0844 892 2493.

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