Strategies to encourage a more active workplace environment

The office Olympic Games are finished, the fake gold medal has started its long journey to rust and activewear is slowly disappearing from memory.

With all the research out there about the benefits to organisations of a healthy and active workforce, how can your workplace re-seize the momentum and get active?

The perils of not embracing squats

According to Absenteeism: The Bottom-Line Killer, unscheduled absenteeism costs roughly $3,600 per year for each hourly worker and $2,650 each year for salaried employees.

Forbes suggests that many workplaces are now trying a more proactive approach, establishing policies that focus on responses to employee health concerns such as psychological health, physical health, work-home balance, environmental health and economic health.

The reasoning behind this approach is that happier, healthier employees will be more able and motivated to go to work every day, which leads to increased morale and productivity for both the employee and their team.

As a result, investing in workplace health programs can lead to a reduction of sick leave absenteeism and workers' compensation costs.

Further research indicates that employees exercising during work hours often have higher productivity levels than their less physically active colleagues.

Let’s get phy… strategic

A recent ING Direct Cost of Health and Fitness Report found that while three in five people admitted to spending up large on trendy activewear in the last 12 months, only one in five people hold a gym membership.

While three in five people admitted to spending money on expensive activewear, only one in five hold a gym membership.

Which then begs the question… of that one in five, how many actually use the gym regularly?

Putting the gym and leg day aside, we outline some other strategies to get your workplace moving:

  • Exercise with benefits: Consider introducing discounted gym memberships or an annual rebate towards an employee's exercise program, as part of your organisation’s staff benefits.
  • Create an active day: Have an active day of the month, quarter or year, where you provide staff with a range of healthy activities such as:
    • Lunchtime in-house exercise sessions
    • Bike to work events
    • Free health checks
    • Workplace charity fun runs.
  • Team up: Office sports teams and annual corporate games are popular lunch time activities for employees. Consider sponsoring team tee-shirts to show curious onlookers that your company gets phy…. active.
  • External assistance: There are various Corporate “10,000 steps challenges” to sign up to nowadays, that see employees pacing at the photocopier or lift wells to get an edge on the competition. The Heart Foundation can also organise free walking groups.
  • Corporate health plans: if your organisation has a corporate health plan available, discuss with your account manager if there are any health benefits built into these plans that you could promote to staff policy holders. Some schemes also give rebates back to organisations to use towards company wide wellbeing activities.
  • Walk and talk: instead of the dimly lit meeting room or a busy café, schedule your next meeting outside and walk. Proving staff with scenic ‘walking meeting maps’ could also provide a further incentive.
  • Sit stand desk – The key to success with a sit-stand desk is participation; if a worker is committed to using it regularly, the musculoskeletal benefits can be high and the impacts of sitting can be mitigated.

    Use MyGB Poster Designer to build awareness about topics such as self care by creating free custom posters for your workplace.

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