Before we provide advice on encouraging exercise inside and outside the office, here are some benefits of focusing on exercise in the first place.
• Focused and productive employees
• Fewer sick days (increased productivity and fewer health-related costs)
• Happier team
What’s more, we should also note that physical exercise can lead to improvements in mental health. In recent years, there’s been particular attention on mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Fortunately, exercise has been shown to reduce stress, release serotonin and endorphins (feel-good chemicals), and more.
How do you get started? Let’s take a look!
Stand Up Desks
Just as the name suggests, these are desks that encourage employees to work while standing up. Sure, they won’t be burning endless calories just by standing up, but it will allow them to stretch, keep the blood flowing, and reduce back/neck pain.
Thanks to the US National Library of Medicine, and the Take-a-Stand Project, we know that neck and back pain can actually reduce by as much as 54% with a height-adjustable desk. Additionally, it’s easier for employees to communicate and collaborate; you’ll garner a great team ethic in the office.
Sometimes, it takes a change in culture in order for changes to come. It might be that your team want to engage in activity and stretch their legs, but the office doesn’t allow. Why not make room for yoga mats, balance balls, meditation, and other activities?
If you’ve been watching office trends in recent years, you’ll know that the likes of Google have been introducing things like foosball tables and table tennis equipment. You don’t need the budget of a multi-national giant to make some space for your team.
By doing this, your team will enjoy a multitude of benefits. If you have somebody comfortable enough to lead a meditation or yoga session, the whole team will bond as you come together. Elsewhere, you’ll enjoy;
• Reduced absenteeism
• Overall wellness and good health
• Less anxiety, stress, and risk of burnout
• A driven and productive team
Sometimes, seeing the boss on the yoga mat is all that’s required to lower the barriers and promote a team culture in the office.
Even if you really don’t have the space for office activities, there are still things you can encourage in the chair. While some like to perform tricep dips (make sure the chair doesn’t roll away and cause injury!), others hold onto the desk and swivel 90 degrees in each direction to stretch the torso. In fact, you can even buy tiny cycle stations where employees put their feet in the pedals and spin while working.
Of course, you have much less control outside the office…but this doesn’t mean you’re completely powerless.
Corporate Gym Membership
You can’t force people to go to the gym, but you can certainly make it easier (and more worthwhile!) for them with a corporate gym membership. Sometimes, gyms will offer special prices when a whole company teams up with them and this is the sort of deal that benefits everybody. The gym gets new members, you get active employees, and your team get discounted memberships.
Depending on your budget, you might even pay for their membership or for certain classes each month. In truth, there are lots of different arrangements that companies use with gyms. To get started, reach out to your local facility and see what they can offer. With a package that suits your staff, they’ll be more likely to exercise.
Subsidised Bike Schemes
Did you know that the UK government introduced the Cycle to Work scheme to encourage people to leave their car in the garage? As well as ‘promoting healthier journeys’, this also reduces the carbon footprint of your team (something many employees will love!). Essentially, the employer buys the bike and receives certain benefits through National Insurance, tax exemptions, and more.
Team Outings/Team Building
Finally, you can’t go wrong with team outings every so often. Rather than going to a restaurant for a meal or doing something else where you’re just sitting, why not get active? Some of the best outings come where an activity is involved. Here are some ideas;
• Adventure weekend
• Trampoline park
• Ice skating
• Corporate Olympics
• Escape room
• Sports day
Sure, you’ll need to invest some money to bring these ideas to fruition, but the rewards will last for a long time to come. Suddenly, your team comes together away from the office and bond as friends rather than just colleagues. People want to work for your company, and the team event will lead to collaboration and productivity when back at work.