Companies are responsible for so many things in relation to their employees: salary payment, career development, maternity/paternity leave, and compassionate support to name a few. This means that less vital responsibilities like promoting physical health are often overlooked. However, there are many knock-on business benefits of supporting physical wellness in the workplace in addition to improving quality of life for your employees. This makes the venture all the more worthwhile.
Benefits of supporting employee physical wellness
Several studies conducted by leading organisations in recent years have proved that physical activity boosts cognitive function to help you think more quickly and solve problems more effectively. It has also been shown to improve memory and contribute to better sleep. All of these benefits result in increased productivity when your employees are at work.
Physical activity also helps to support a healthy immune system. This means that your employees will get sick less frequently, leading to improved attendance rates. Those who exercise regularly also report having more energy and a more balanced mood, both of which will help to negate absenteeism in the workplace.
Better mental health
Exercise has also been linked to better mental health. Doing something physical, even it is as simple as walking, releases ‘feel-good’ hormones that make you happier in yourself and more cheerful in your outlook. UK charity Mind recommends physical activity as a way to manage stress and anxiety and intrusive thoughts. This is because it elevates our cortisol levels and gives your brain something to focus on which interrupts spirals.
How to promote physical wellness in the workplace
Create a fitness culture
The easiest way to promote physical wellness in the workplace is to create a fitness culture. This could include setting up group exercise opportunities like lunchtime yoga sessions, an afterwork running club, or a cycle to work scheme. It is a good idea to provide washing facilities such as showers and changing rooms to make these fitness sessions more attractive.
Provide a health programme
In addition to creating a fitness culture, you can also provide a dedicated health programme for your employees. These programmes can be accessed online and often provide health advice, exercise tips, and discounts for certain medical procedures such as physiotherapy.
Upgrade workplace equipment
Lastly, it is important to minimise all risks in the workplace that could have a negative effect on employee health. This might look like providing quality personal protective equipment for construction workers or making key features of office work more ergonomic such as replacing old office chairs with newer models designed for better back support and implementing keyboards that safeguard against Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI).
HR Future Staff Writer.