Research from the World Health Organisation has found that a quarter of adults around the world don’t get the sufficient levels of physical activity needed to live a healthy lifestyle. Businesses should take note of this, as there is a direct correlation between exercise and workplace productivity.

In fact, a study by the University of Otago in New Zealand has found that employees who exercise regularly are 13% more productive at their workplace. This seemingly small percentage could have a huge impact over time if more workers took up exercising and could see huge increases in productivity and output.

This article will take employers through some top tips to encourage staff members to get more active for benefits both inside and outside the workplace.

Share the statistics

Many members of your team might already be considering investing more time into their exercise routines to benefit their health. One thing that could help them finalise this decision is sharing your findings with your wider teams.

Effective, open, honest communication is crucial for making your workforce feel valued and part of the conversation. By conveying the data and research you’ve done into the benefits of activity and exercise can have on both mental and physical health, you can help push your workforce to engage more actively with their bodies.

Encourage a culture of wellness

Fostering a culture of wellness in the workplace can make a significant difference in the health and happiness of your employees. This can be achieved through various means, such as organising wellness programs, fitness challenges, and health-related workshops.

Creating a positive environment where employees feel supported in their quest for a healthier lifestyle can significantly boost morale and motivation. Additionally, consider introducing flexible work hours or remote work options to allow employees to better balance their work and exercise routines.

Embrace the everyday exercise – cycle to work and more

There’s plenty you can do around your workplace to make it more accessible for those looking to benefit from exercising to and from the office. Many might see their morning and evening commute as the perfect opportunity to burn some calories and get the blood pumping through their bodies through the likes of cycling or even donning some trainers and running.

Nothing is sure to discourage people from exercising before work than the prospect of arriving sweaty and worn out without a place to get changed into their uniform or appropriate attire. Or worse, be forced to smell for the rest of the day. Introducing purpose-built changing rooms with showers is a great remedy for this.

Consider investing in facilities like on-site fitness centres or yoga rooms. These spaces not only provide convenience but also serve as a visible reminder of the company’s commitment to the well-being of its employees. Moreover, designate walking or jogging paths around the office campus to encourage outdoor exercise during breaks.

Similarly, for those cycling, they’ll want to be sure they’re able to safely store their bikes while they’re working. Bike racks or sheds can encourage cycling without fear of theft or damage.

Provide benefits and incentives

Everyone loves a freebie, and offering benefits and incentives to those in your workforce who want to get a bit more active could help drive the idea home. You could partner with local sports brands that make and sell fitness and workout gear, ranging from apparel to peripherals like wrist straps for weightlifting. Their brand gets free exposure, and your workforce gets some additional equipment to help them during their workouts.

Gym memberships can sometimes be costly, making people uncomfortable committing their hard-earned money to a membership contract. Offering a discount or a free trial membership for a few months when they first start with your business could help get them into the groove of going and exercising. If they enjoy it, they might sign up for a full membership and feel encouraged to go more frequently and learn about exercises that help them become more active.

In addition to partnering with sports brands, consider organising regular fitness-related events or challenges within your company. For instance, you could arrange company-wide step challenges, where employees compete to reach a certain number of steps daily or weekly. Prizes and recognition for top performers can further motivate participation.

Support work-life Balance

A crucial aspect of encouraging employees to be more active is ensuring they have a healthy work-life balance. Encourage your team to disconnect from work after hours, enabling them to devote time to physical activities, hobbies, and relaxation. Promote the importance of taking breaks and using paid time off to recharge and engage in fitness-related pursuits.

Additionally, consider flexible scheduling or compressed workweeks, which can allow employees to have longer weekends or mid-week breaks for exercise and leisure activities. Supporting their work-life balance not only boosts their overall well-being but also enhances their productivity during working hours.

Exercise is key

Promoting a more active workforce can lead to numerous benefits, including increased productivity, improved employee morale, and reduced healthcare costs. To achieve this, start by sharing compelling statistics about the positive impact of physical activity on both mental and physical health. Create a culture of wellness that supports and encourages employees to prioritise their health and fitness. Finally, provide facilities and incentives that make it convenient and enjoyable for your team to get active.

Man on a bike
Ben Mercer
Commercial Director at Leisure Lakes Bikes

Ben Mercer is the Commercial Director of Leisure Lakes Bikes, a family-run local bike shop, with 11 UK bike shops, focusing on providing the best shop and online experience for mountain bikes, electric bikes, full suspension mountain bikes.