The Importance of Physical Activity as Employee Benefit
Most people are aware that getting enough physical exercise is incredibly important to staying healthy and happy. Despite this, a recent study shows that 84% of Brits aren’t currently reaching the level of activity that the NHS recommends. The same study also stated that two-thirds of employees consider it the responsibility of their employer to support their physical wellbeing.
These statistics alone don’t necessarily mean all that much but combined with the large majority of HR professionals who agree that physical activity reduces absenteeism, the benefits for an employer to support an increase in physical activity at work are very clear.
Whether this is through supplying facilities in the workplace for staff to use, making sure there is time set aside in the work-week for employees to exercise, or even through incentives for employees to work towards, there are a lot of benefits for both employers and employees.
Physical Benefits of Physical Activity
Even in jobs that don’t require a high level of physical fitness, there is a wide range of physical benefits that just 30 minutes a day of exercise can help employees maintain a healthy weight, drastically lowering the chances of a number of serious illnesses. Heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and various types of cancer are all linked to increased weight and a sedentary lifestyle both of which are things that moderate exercise can help stave off.
It can also increase overall energy levels by helping to dispel the build-up of fatigue, working out has been shown to improve circulation and strengthen the heart. Both of which will help your employees feel more refreshed and energetic.
Mental Benefits of Physical Activity
Physical exercise doesn’t just help with physical health, as it encourages your body to release endorphins. Endorphins are a hormone that increases happiness when released and can have a dramatic impact on mental wellbeing. By helping your employees to exercise you can lower their feelings of stress and anxiety by reducing their cortisol levels at the same time as increasing their production of endorphins. A reduction in stress will help your employees feel energised and more positive overall, making your business a happier environment.
Other Benefits of Physical Activity
Providing a space or time for your employees to exercise regularly will help bring them together as they find themselves interacting in a less formal work environment. It shows employees that their employer cares about them and is looking for ways to help them, building a feeling of camaraderie throughout the company.
Regular exercise can also help boost productivity by providing increases to things like creativity, concentration, learning speed, and boosting memory. All of these are bonuses that any employer would be happy for their employees to gain with a study suggesting that visiting the gym during work hours has an even greater effect.
Steps To Encourage Physical Activity At Work
There are a number of ways that employers can help their employees reach their recommended amount of exercise during a week. We’ve listed a few of the more efficient ones below:
Provide free or discounted gym membership as an employment benefit
Set aside time during the day where employees are encouraged to go for a walk together
Building an on-site gym
Help employees find information on local resources they can use to exercise themselves
You can help to build a happier, healthier workforce by understanding your team. At hug, we’ve developed a platform to help you do just that. It offers holistic real time analysis of your employee wellbeing and smart matches products, services and benefits to employee needs. The aggregated, anonymous data will give you a deeper understanding of your workforce, providing insights into the benefits that would best suit your employees. Book a demo by clicking here today.