As many workplaces have gradually switched to a flexible working scheme, alternating between working in the office and at home, there is no hiding that employees may currently be struggling to receive support for their physical health and keep active.
The NHS suggests that adults should be aiming for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity every week. In fact, prolonged inactiveness accounts for about 70,000 deaths per year in Britain alone.
What’s more, research shows that the rate of unexpected, illness-related absenteeism is more substantial in workers who are less physically active. Small tweaks in habits can have a massive impact on people’s productivity, absence rates, and overall health.
With some insights from Richard Holmes, Director of Wellbeing at Westfield Health, we take a look at how employers can prioritise employee wellbeing and encourage their staff members to be more active both outside and inside the workplace.
Workplace culture can have a significant effect on employee wellbeing and behaviour. A manager or leader who promotes the importance of physical health will truly encourage their workers to exercise more during the day.
One way of embedding activity into the workplace culture is to include physical health support as a key feature of your wellbeing plan and strategy. Here are some policies you may want to consider:
Of course, every organisation will take a different approach based on its needs and possibilities, but always make sure to ask your employees how you can help to keep them active while at work.
Share your exercise policies with your team and invite them to take advantage of the various options. To keep track of the effectiveness of your physical activity programme, make note of people’s engagement and evaluate the long-term impact it’s having on the business.
To ensure you are incorporating physical activity into the working day, it is crucial to enable your people to prioritise it. One idea could be to send out monthly wellbeing emails with resources, links to online workouts and general exercise tips.
Also, make allowances for managers to discuss physical wellbeing, as well as mental health, personal targets, and performance, during one-to-one meetings with team members. Ultimately, employees will feel empowered to make physical activity a priority if their managers are too.
As for in-office facilities, business owners can actively support their workers’ physical health by creating a designated area for exercise and activities within the workplace. Whether it’s converting a quiet corner or a compact meeting room, an active space with mats, resistance bands and dumbbells can become a huge asset to the office. In fact, it will certainly encourage and help employees enjoy some exercising at work.
If you don’t have enough space for an active space, consider offering your employees discounted memberships for popular chain gyms. This will help your team stay fit and healthy whatever their schedule.