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An appetite for fitness - a more productive office
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An appetite for fitness - a more productive office

An appetite for fitness - a more productive office

by Angelika Kerlin, executive researcher

It is a well-known fact that a healthier workforce is considered more productive. An employer who is recognised as one who cares about the health and well-being of their employees is rewarded not only with fewer absentees, but also a positive reflection on the reputation and culture of their organisation.

 Fitness does not receive as much attention as it should, especially in the modern office. A study presented to the American College of Sports Medicine, found that workers who spent 30 to 60 minutes of their lunch break exercising reported and average performance boost of 15% - so why do we not give fitness the attention it rightfully deserves?

 When you think about your office or place of work, it is highly likely that fitness is not the first word that comes to mind. Yet, at the same time, exercise in the office is not a new idea and with it being a clear win-win in terms of morale, health and productivity it deserves more spotlight than it is currently receiving.

 The endorphins released during exercise provide employees with more self-confidence, energy, and a positive attitude, which directly translates into a stress-free environment. Healthy and well taken care of employees are also less likely to fall ill, which in return results in the fall of short and long-term absenteeism. Just 2,5 hours of exercise per week can lead to a noticeable reduction in absences. 

 Whilst, not every company has the facilities to provide an in-house gym for their workers, there are still many ways to promote fitness within your business, no matter the size or budget. Charity challenges such as the Three Peaks, the London to Brighton bike ride or even a variety of runs are extremely popular and can be completed as a team. You could also set up a company sports team or research and implement one of many, specially designed corporate fitness plans, which allow companies to employ their own personal trainers who have the ability to run classes for groups of staff, small or large.

“You cannot exercise your way out of a bad diet” Mark Hyman.

 Nutrition is the cornerstone of health and well-being. One-third of our daily calories are consumed whilst at work and businesses are gradually recognising their duty to help keep their workforce healthy. Eating poorly is considered one of the workplace pet peeves. Bad diets continue to make a significant contribution to our nation's poor health record and The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) estimates that a company employing 1000 people, could lose more than £126,000 a year in lost productivity purely due to obesity.

 Making a poor decision at lunchtime can derail an entire afternoon as food has a direct impact on our cognitive function. Everyone can understand that people have limited time for eating and ample access to snacks, doughnuts and other junk food in the workplace. This can derail the best-intentioned diet. There is a lot you can do to help your employees make better choices.

Try to get people more involved with healthy eating events, such as tasting fairs or cookery workshops, which could provide your employees with the knowledge of healthy alternatives to their favourite snacks. Make sure your staff are aware of healthy eating campaigns, such as “Five a Day”. Organising an awareness week can be very effective, making sure the information is easily available and circulated around your office can make all the difference, as sometimes all we need is a “nudge” to make a better decision.

Overall, no matter the facilities, it is the right workplace environment that allows us to foster a culture of health and well-being. Considering how widespread heart disease and other preventable illnesses are today, our future as healthy people is dependent on the small daily changes we implement. Let’s make sure we apply them to our daily routine.  

  • Tamara Galloway
    Tamara Galloway
    Sat, 6 May 2017 3:26pm BST
    I agree, healthy employees make for a more productive office, and certainly a happier one...

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