With schedules and routines flipped upside down right now, there is a critical need to focus on mental health and well-being. But that doesn’t mean that physical health has become any less important. While most people are staying in their own spaces, businesses need to make a conscious effort to support the physical health of their employees now and as they eventually return to work. No matter the job or the location, businesses need to make targeted physical health initiatives a priority.
While good health obviously benefits the individual, there are also several benefits to the company as a whole when employees become healthier:
According to studies, mental acuity is strongly influenced by physical movement, regardless of age. Movement gets the blood pumping and keeps the entire body in better working order. Use this knowledge to your advantage by giving employees frequent mental health breaks. These allow for the movement that encourages cerebral resilience. Imagine the benefits of a team with greater concentration, better mental stamina, and more creative juices flowing!
Stress is a well-known cause of reduced productivity and interpersonal communication issues. Additionally, according to Anita Bowness, stress also causes higher absenteeism, reduced morale, and an overall decrease in employee work satisfaction. Even moderate regular exercise increases endorphins and other feel-good neurotransmitters that improve mood and help lower stress levels. If there is a simple solution for combating some different kinds of stress, why not encourage it at work?
A team with lower stress and higher mental stamina will no doubt perform better than one at the opposite end of the spectrum. In fact, as Helen Sanders notes, various studies confirm that productivity increases with exercise. Additionally, time-management skills improve. People who exercise regularly are significantly more likely to complete their daily tasks.
Improved Bottom Line
If all of this information has yet to convince you to get a physical health and fitness initiative started in your business, consider the financial benefits. A healthier workforce likely means fewer visits to the doctor, which lowers insurance premiums. That’s less out-of-pocket costs, which contributes to a “healthier” bottom line. Additionally, lower absentee rates and higher productivity also improve financial numbers.
Since we know the benefits, let’s discuss some options to get the ball rolling on a healthier workforce.
- Choose a health coach to empower employees with knowledge.
- Make some room in the office for a small gym.
- Encourage designated team walks/runs.
- Team up with local gyms to offer discounted memberships.
- Utilize desk equipment that requires more standing or core engagement.
- Start exercise challenges with rewards for building healthy habits.
Exercising contributes to feelings of accomplishment, which makes sense given that it makes people more productive. That alone is a reason to encourage it. However, anything that makes someone feel good while being good for them is something we should intentionally make more accessible.
In short, incorporating more exercise into the daily lives of employees — in and out of work — can make them happier, healthier, more productive, and less stressed while helping them feel good about themselves. Investing in their physical health can have a big payoff and should be a priority for leadership. So now is as good a time as any to begin or reinvigorate a physical health initiative within your business.