The value of staff fitness
Being physically active is vital for keeping our hearts healthy, and workers that are physically active take 27 percent fewer sick days than their inactive colleagues.
Your workforce and your business will benefit from providing information, encouragement and opportunities for staff to move more often.
Here are a few ideas to help employees become more active. You’ll find lots more in our booklet Get your organisation active, which can also be ordered as part of the Health at Work Toolkit.
A healthy commute
Encourage staff to build physical activity into their journeys to and from work. Walking, cycling or running to work (or part of the way) is a great way to fit exercise into the daily routine, and cuts transport costs.
Providing secure bike storage, a changing area and shower facilities will encourage greater uptake. And the Cycle to Work Scheme allows employers to provide tax-free loans to staff for bikes and cycling safety gear.
Get inspired by Coventry City Council’s fun Rush Hour Challenge, where staff were challenged to beat the rush hour home by travelling actively in different ways.
Classes like pilates and boxercise can be popular in the workplace if organised to fit around the working day, and delivered on-site or in a facility nearby.
Use a survey and taster sessions to find out what kind of classes would most appeal to employees. Offer a variety of classes at different times, to enable as many people as possible to take part. Try to negotiate a reduced cost with the provider, or subsidise the classes from your budget.
Encourage staff to take a short active break during the day using our 10 minute workout video. Play the youtube film in a meeting room or communal area for groups to follow, or encourage them to try it at home.
There are countless ways to reduce the time your staff spend sitting for long periods.
- Support groups of absolute beginners that want to get into running by promoting our bespoke training schedules up to 5K, 10K, or more.
- Use a local BHF walking, cycling, running or swimming event as a goal for people to aim for. Enter a workplace team and put together a training programme as part of your programme.
- Start an ‘email-free’ day every week, fortnight or month, when everyone is encouraged to walk to speak to colleagues instead of sending internal emails.
Use the Health at Work toolkit and our case studies for even more ideas to help improve staff fitness in your workplace.
Not everyone will be keen or confident to join in with physical activity events, but by providing a variety of opportunities your programme will widen its appeal.
Some people are more likely to get involved in activities that have an element of friendly competition – an inter-departmental football or rounders match for example.
For others, it may help to present some activities as a challenge, a team building opportunity, or fun event instead of emphasising the physical activity aspect.