This may not come as a surprise to you, but did you know that 15% of Europeans never walk more than 10 minutes consecutively, in any given week?
The health and fitness industry is rapidly growing, with its total market value exceeding 5bn for the first time in the UK. Despite this, a recent report by the Eurobarometer on sport and physical activity, showed that while the UK is not doing too badly when compared to other European countries, 37% of us said that we never exercise or play sport. That said, the UK still lags behind Scandinavian countries where less than 20% of the adult population say they do not exercise.
Public Health England found inactivity costs a business around £126,000 per annum in productivity rates for an organisation with over 1,000 employees (British Heart Foundation). Being inactive is taking a significant toll on people’s health and wellbeing. Evidence suggests that exercise reduces work absences by reducing back injuries, stress, depression and anxiety.
Managers play a key part in the promotion of physical activity in the workplace. It’s time we stop faffing around, grab the bull by the horns and actively promote fitness in the workplace. We need to start dedicating a few minutes of the working day to fitness and wellbeing.
Without our health we’re nothing! We spend most of our waking lives at work and yet we do little in terms of physical activity at work. We dedicate time to weekly meetings and lunch breaks, how about spending some time on our fitness?
As surprising as it may seem, some Swedish companies include clauses in their contracts that state that employees must workout. For example, clothing brand Björn Borg has set a mandatory hour per week for a workout for each employee.
We think that’s an awesome idea. Would you sign such a contract?
You may be wondering how expecting your employees (using PayFit, we hope!) to exercise during office hours could help you. Many studies have proven the importance of sport in the workplace.
💸 According to a Harvard study, for each dollar invested in the promotion of physical activity within the workplace, $4 is saved in medical costs and $3 in absenteeism costs.
🏋🏼♂️John Hopkins University has proven that 75 minutes of intense workout reduces the absenteeism figures by 4.1 days per year.
🤓A study from Leeds Metropolitan University has shown that when employees go to the gym during their working hours, they are more efficient in managing their time.
It’s a no brainer that being healthier and more efficient at work results in happier and more content employees.
After reading all this, you must be itching to know how your business can benefit from a fitter and healthier workforce. We’ve put together a few ideas to promote fitness and wellbeing in the workplace and guess what? It doesn’t necessarily require you to install a state-of-the-art gym.
Encourage employees to ride their bike to work. You could start a ‘cycle to work scheme’ to help employees purchase a bike. Did you know that only 4% of the country cycle to work? Netherlands on the other hand, lead the way with 46% of the country using their bikes on a daily basis.
The founder of Hootsuite says that he has always encouraged physical activity in his company because he is very conscious of the importance of fitness in the workplace. Before Hootsuite became the multinational business it is today, Hootsuite had modest fitness installations: a pull-up bar and Pilates balls instead of regular chairs. Hootsuite’s headquarters now have a gym, shower facilities and they schedule yoga classes in the morning and at lunch time. The point we’re making is, start small if your budget is limited, as there are cost effective ways to improve the general fitness of your team.
“I would never have been able to remain calm and maintain composure and focus in the midst of chaos without working out everyday”
Ryan Holmes, founder of Hootsuite
At PayFit, a group of employees workout every Wednesday from 8am to 9am at the athletic track located near our Paris office. Any staff member is welcome to join and each week more PayFiters do so.
Sometimes it’s easier to find motivation as a group and it’s an opportunity to meet new colleagues. With our London team being small, we joined a co-working space with free yoga classes and employees receive a discount on local gym memberships.
You might be able to negotiate a corporate discount with your local gym or leisure centre (PureGym, Nuffield, Better, Virgin Active). There are also corporate programs with Classpass or Incorpore that gives access to different studios and classes for a single fee.
According to a study conducted by Gymlib, 68% of employees say they would work out if their employers covered some of the financial cost.
Discounted gym memberships and cycle to work schemes are great, but they can be limited to the people that they have always appealed to.
You can engage more people by making things simple and personal and can use apps like Fuell to set up team challenges. Fuell is a challenge-based fitness and wellness app to help businesses achieve a more active workforce. You can create a positive and encouraging environment for all participants by creating your own challenges, joining global challenges and rewarding employees. The Fuell app is free! You could set up something as simple as a weekly or monthly league with incentives or prizes for the top three employees with the most steps.
Here are some quick and easy ways of making fitness fun:
Whether your business already encourages physical activity in the workplace or planning to do so, we recommend checking guidance on using the tax system to offer gym memberships and sport facilities to staff here.