Unfortunately, working in a traditional office environment doesn’t require a huge amount of getting up and moving around. For a healthy body and mind, it’s vital to promote exercise within the workplace. Finding interesting and engaging ways to promote physical activity during the day can help improve workplace morale, employee satisfaction, and overall productivity.
You do not have to be a large blue chip company to encourage staff to be active. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups should also be able to promote exercise and fitness, and make it readily available for all involved with the business. As long as you implement a health initiative, and follow through and get management involved, it will have a huge impact in your workplace. Here are some ideas of exercise initiatives in the workplace to get you started.
Exercise is one of the best ways to create a more energetic, focused, and driven workforce to power your business. So a logical and easy way to help employees to exercise is to partner with a local gym, ideally one close to your workplace. Simply contact prospective gyms touching base with the manager or owner and let them know you'd like to refer your employees to their gym. Hopefully in exchange for offering a discount on membership fees.
Another easy way to promote exercise is to encourage a walk during lunch time for 20 – 30 minutes, whether that’s around a local park or around a shopping centre even.
Why not form a team to represent your company in a charity sport event e.g. a team for a 10K race or corporate dragon boat race?
Organising a lunchtime sport club, or if it’s easier make it an after-work or before-work fitness club or class. This could include Yoga, spinning class, Pilates, running club, or joining a 5 a side football league.
Team building event or a company away day is a great way to showcase the benefits of keeping fit and healthy. Why not include a bike ride or a team sport activity (ball games, football, triathlon) and finish with a picnic?
It’s not just about exercise, healthy eating is also vital to wellness within the office. As an employer, offer fruit in the breakout areas or why not have a healthy vending machine with dried fruits, soups and juices.
Another option to consider is to offer flex time to help work out. So many employees have the desire to work out and exercise, but they just don't have time to. Employers can help by offering flex time that allows employees to use some of their workday, to get a work out in. This means that as long as the required work gets done, employees can within reason use their time throughout the day, as they see fit.
If being flexible with time isn’t for you, another easy way to get employees to exercise is by allowing them flexibility when it comes to their own personal workspace. For example, allowing employees to sit on a balance ball instead of a desk chair which helps strengthen and stabilise core muscles, which is important to good health.
As an employer, you could offer postural awareness training to educate correct posture. Not to mention this is hugely important in maintaining a healthy mind and body, especially for office workers and those undertaking manual handling tasks.
It’s also important to remember that convenience alone won’t guarantee that your employees will take advantage of the available resources. Encourage, engage and lead by example. Remember that a healthy workforce often leads to a higher rate of happiness and productivity.
By Daniel Goddard, manager of Stadia Sports