Most workplaces have flexible arrangements to starting and finishing work. Well why wouldn’t any employer do that? Not many places of work expect employers to clock-in and out. Not many places of work pay overtime. So what do we have? Committed employees working longer hours, going without lunchbreaks, leaving late, eating takeaway food and gaining pounds annually.
We think about losing weight by exercising more and it never seems to happen. The workplace doesn’t help through the use of technological advances, workers do not even have to be in the same town or city to take part in meetings. Another reason for gaining pounds.
The result is growing sickness rates brought on by a number of illnesses and diseases, which the medical profession has been blaming on our rotund nation. This is costing employers dearly, not only in lost production and also through a loss of organisational intelligence while our sick colleagues rest or undergo treatment. Maybe employers should think what they can do to reduce sickness levels by encouraging exercise in the workplace.
Some employers have already taken this forward thinking step such as Google. When it opened in the 1990s a commitment was made to add a workplace wellness programme. The initial motivation was to make the workplace enjoyable, therefore Google could attract the best talent to their workforce and it paid off.
There are other advantages that employers could benefit from providing workplace exercise programs such as:-
Improved productivity because exercise increased productivity and performance. The brain gets stimulated by exercise, employees feel energised and motivated, therefore better focused on tasks.
Builds bonds in the workplace through group health and fitness activities. Employees can build relationships with colleagues as they share the trials of exercise and the exhilaration of achievement. This bond does not stay in the health activities, it moves to everyday work tasks. Trust is built, employees are more likely to solve problems together, support each other morally and provide fast services during a crisis.
A healthier workforce takes less time off work, less appointments with doctors, hospital appointments, which means that employees spend less on medication and employers gain from a reduced sickness rate.
Regular exercise reduces stress levels. Stress makes people respond in unhealthy ways e.g. reaching for sugary foods and alcohol. Exercise in the workplace that encourages walking meetings, mindfulness and social engagement can help to reduce stress and teaches employees how to cope with stress better.
A healthier workforce is a happier workforce. A happier workforce is a more productive workforce.