There has been a growing number of organisations in the UK that have physical activity and healthy eating as a core part of their occupational health policy. This involvement by employers in trying to create and promote the importance of healthy living to employees can help improve attendance, performance, and morale. There are a number of ways that employers can seek to help improve how staff access physical activity and get physical activity into an organisation’s culture.
Ideas organisations could employ include having a physical activity champion, who is encouraged to promote health and physical activities, be a useful resource, and act as a clear point of contact. Fitness classes, such as a bootcamp or circuit class, can be done at little cost and, in many cases, staff may opt to self-fund this. These can be run on site if space allows, which will increase the level of access to the service. Local instructors are often keen to be involved in this because it is an opportunity to increase their exposure.
Having an office team in a range of sports can be a fun way of promoting physical activity, and having health promotion events in the office can help to get staff thinking about health and fitness. Local personal trainers and gyms will often be willing to send staff to deliver presentations in exchange for some light marketing to employees.
One of the biggest reasons that is given as to why individuals do not engage in physical activity is a lack of time. Employers have the ability to help employees embed physical activity into their day. This can be done at a relatively low cost and, in some cases, for free. This will then allow organisations to reap the benefits of a healthier, more productive workforce.
Tom Godwin is a personal trainer and independent fitness professional tutor and assessor