Should Businesses Encourage Exercise Within the Workplace?

By Guest Author | exercise HR | August 30, 2020

Physical fitness and productivity go hand-in-hand. When workers exercise, their results in the workplace tend to improve. Often, these improvements can be dramatic. But does this mean that employers should try to accommodate exercise at the workplace? There are a few reasons to suppose so.

Improves job satisfaction

When employers demonstrate a concern for the wellbeing of their workforce, they’ll generate goodwill in the other direction. By providing an onsite gym, you’ll allow your workers the time they need to work some exercise into their day. But investments needn’t be this extreme – even something simple like a bicycle-rack might help to create the right kinds of incentive.

Reduce stress

Physical activity releases stress-busting endorphins, providing a natural high that offsets work-related stress. On the other hand, they also reduce levels of cortisol (the hormone responsible for stress). Of course, if the job is inherently stressful, employers might look at how to address this at source, too.

Helps with social interaction

Group exercise can bolster social cohesion. Why spend on a corporate retreat with team-building activities when you can just play football after work? Being able to interact with colleagues in a non-work-related setting confers several benefits. It fosters empathy and understanding and helps workers to see one another not as sources of stress, but as collaborators.

On top of this, when exercise provides social benefits (and confers social obligations), workers will be less inclined to skip it. When everyone in the office is talking about an upcoming badminton match, there’s an extra incentive to turn up!

Reduce absenteeism

Being physically active carries with it the risk of injury. But the right kind of activity will also reduce the risk of injury, and keep everyone in good shape. If workers are sat at chairs all day, then certain muscle groups, specifically in the abdomen and lower back, run the risk of weakening. This leaves the individual at greater risk of suffering a workplace injury. Even something as innocuous as reaching for a heavy file might cause an injury to develop!

While workers might claim compensation after suffering an injury, this won’t retrieve the hours they might otherwise have worked. Thus it’s worthwhile for employers to encourage exercise and thereby reduce the number of hours written off due to injury. The investment may be offset by a reduction in sick-pay expenditure, as well as generating a healthier, happier culture for everyone.