It might not seem like its the employer’s job to make sure their workers are leading active lifestyles, but more and more businesses are making it their business to encourage exercise and wellness with their workers. The benefits of exercise is not only good for individuals, but the flow out from a healthy, active and positive human being effects others. From increased productivity to financial savings with less sick days, it is in the employers best interest to encourage their employers to exercise.
Employers: Exercise = Wellbeing
A ‘Well Being’ is in fact a ‘well’ ‘being’. If you are well, happy and healthy, chances are you are going to be doing pretty well in all areas of your life – and that includes work. People who exercise are more likely to be confident and ready to rise to challenges because they know how to set goals and have met them. They are usually more likely to inspire this confidence to the people around them, be more upbeat and motivating. Employees who are fit and healthy tend to be happier all round which will boost the workplace to be more positive and be less stressful. Plus, they are usually less stressed as they are able to deal with any stress in their life through exercise, hence they are more balanced at work. Stats report that Australian workers are losing more than three days each year because of workplace stress. Take home message so far = employers, encourage exercise!
Employers: Exercise = Health
Almost the greatest reward an employer has from encouraging exercise with their staff are healthier employees. There is nothing worse than having a whole lot of people home sick at the same time with the common cold that is ‘going around’. Sick people are much less productive at work and also pose a risk that more people will pick up the bug. However, people who are physically fit have a reduced risk of getting sick. They are healthier and are more able to fight off bugs, which means they are less likely to have to call in sick. Some striking statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that sickness and absenteeism costs organisations an estimated $2,700 per employee each year. For financial reasons alone it is in the best interest of the business to encourage exercise.
Employers: Exercise = Productivity
Employers are wise to invest in the physical health of their employees as the payoff is incredible. People who exercise regularly have more energy for the day and are able to sustain it throughout the day. Which means you will get more work, and better quality work, from your employees. A study of companies that managed wellness programs effectively found the following:
- Organisational performance was 2.5 times better
- Employee engagement was 8 times higher
- Creativity and innovation was 3.5 times higher
- Retention of talent was 4 times higher over a 12 month period
Exercise enables people to deal with stress and also enable the brain to perform better with certain functions such as memory, multi-tasking and problem solving. This will likely in turn lead to increased job satisfaction when an employee is doing well at work. Exercise enables people to sleep better and come to work ready and raring to go. And studies have actually shown that happier people are 12 percent more productive people. That is compelling isn’t it?
Leading The Way
There are businesses and companies that are already harnessing the positive effects of investing into their employees physical activity. Google offer on-site fitness centres and over 200 exercise classes to join. The David Suzuki Foundation have showers specifically to encourage workers to ride their bikes to work and have walking meetings to get people on their feet. The online retailer, Zappos really encourages their employees to be active and healthy by offering their employees yoga and fitness studios, mini putt golf course, ping pong table, gym memberships, marathon registrations and team based physical activities. And Flight Centre hires wellness consultants to run yoga classes for their employees. It is clear that these businesses see the value of having healthy, happy employees!
How to Encourage Exercise
There are lots of ways employers can encourage their workers to exercise that are easy to implement. Having equipment that employers can just jump on for 10 minutes when they are in a slump, are frustrated, or have a slow part of the day will get their blood pumping, pick their mood up and help them to work well all day long. Something even as simple as putting up signs of the health benefits of taking the stairs can be enough to get start getting some health benefits. Employers need to make it easy for their workers to exercise. Providing a secure place for bikes to park, and a healthy stocked fridge will encourage employees to make healthy choices. Modelling exercise is key as a leader of a workplace – if your employers see their boss valuing their wellbeing, they may just follow suit.