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This may not come as a surprise to you, but did you know that 15% of Europeans never walk more than 10 minutes consecutively, in any given week?

The march of the unstoppable fitness craze

The health and fitness industry is rapidly growing, with its total market value exceeding £5 billion for the first time in the UK.

Despite this, a recent report by the Eurobarometer on sport and physical activity, showed that while the UK is not doing too badly when compared to other European countries, 37% of us said that we never exercise or play sport.

Public Health England found inactivity costs a business around £126,000 per annum in productivity rates for an organisation with over 1,000 employees (British Heart Foundation). Being inactive is taking a significant toll on people’s health and wellbeing and the evidence suggests that exercise can reduce work absences by reducing back injuries, stress, depression and anxiety.

On your marks!

Managers play a key part in the promotion of physical activity in the workplace. It’s time we stop faffing around, grab the bull by the horns and actively promote fitness in the workplace.

Without our health we’re nothing! We spend most of our waking lives at work and yet we do little in terms of physical activity at work. We dedicate time to weekly meetings and lunch breaks, but how about spending some time on our fitness?

As surprising as it may seem, some Swedish companies include clauses in their contracts that state that employees must workout. For example, clothing brand Björn Borg has set a mandatory hour per week for a workout for each employee.

We think that’s an awesome idea. Would you sign such a contract?

The UK lags behind Scandinavian countries where less than 20% of the adult population say they do not exercise.

Why fitness matters

You may be wondering how expecting your employees to exercise during office hours could help you. However, many studies have proven the importance of sport in the workplace.

💸 According to a Harvard study, for each dollar invested in the promotion of physical activity within the workplace, $4 is saved in medical costs and $3 in absenteeism costs.

🏋🏼‍♂️John Hopkins University has proven that 75 minutes of intense workout every week can reduce absenteeism figures by 4.1 days per year.

🤓A study by Leeds Metropolitan University has shown that when employees go to the gym during their working hours, they are more efficient in managing their time.

It’s a no brainer that being healthier and more efficient at work results in happier and more content employees.

How do you increase the fitness of your team?

After reading all this, you must be itching to know how your business can benefit from a fitter and healthier workforce. We’ve put together a few ideas to promote fitness and wellbeing in the workplace that doesn’t necessarily require you to install a state-of-the-art gym!

🚲 Get them riding

Encourage employees to ride their bike to work. You could start a ‘cycle to work scheme’ to help employees purchase a bike. Did you know that only 4% of the country cycle to work? The Dutch lead the peloton in Europe, with a staggering 46% of the country using their bikes on a daily basis.

🚲 Cycle to work.

🚲 Cycle to work.

🧘 Stretch them a little

The founder of Hootsuite says that he has always encouraged physical activity in his company because he is very conscious of the importance of fitness in the workplace. Before Hootsuite became the multinational business it is today, they had modest fitness installations: a pull-up bar and used pilates balls instead of regular chairs.

Hootsuite’s headquarters now have a gym, shower facilities and they schedule yoga classes in the morning and at lunchtime. The point we’re making is, start small if your budget is limited, as there are cost-effective ways to improve the general fitness of your team.

“I would never have been able to remain calm and maintain composure and focus in the midst of chaos without working out every day.”

Ryan Holmes, founder of Hootsuite

🧘‍♂️🧘‍♀️ Get exercising.

🧘‍♂️🧘‍♀️ Get exercising.

💪🏼 Start a workout group or running club

At PayFit, a group of employees work out every Wednesday from 8am to 9am at the athletics track located near our Paris office. Any staff member is welcome to join and each week more PayFiters do so.

Sometimes it’s easier to find motivation as a group and it’s an opportunity to meet new colleagues. With our London team being small, we joined a co-working space with free yoga classes and employees receive a discount on local gym memberships.

🏃‍♀️🏃‍♂️ Get running.

🏃‍♀️🏃‍♂️ Get running.

🏷 Get a discount from your local gym

You might be able to negotiate a corporate discount with your local gym or leisure centre (PureGym, Nuffield, Better, Virgin Active). There are also corporate options with Classpass or Incorpore that gives access to different studios and classes for a single fee.

According to a study conducted by Gymlib, 68% of employees say they would work out if their employers covered some of the financial cost.

🕹 It’s time to gamify

Discounted gym memberships and cycle to work schemes are great, but they can be limited to the people that they have always appealed to.

You can engage more people by making things simple and personal and can use apps like Fuell to set up team challenges.

Fuell is a challenge-based fitness and wellness app to help businesses achieve a more active workforce. You can create a positive and encouraging environment for all participants by building your own challenges, joining global ones and rewarding employees.

The best thing about the Fuell app is that it's FREE! You could set up something as simple as a weekly or monthly league with incentives or prizes for the top three employees with the most steps.

🏓 Who doesn't love a bit of whiff whaff?

🏓 Who doesn't love a bit of whiff whaff?

Whatever you do, make it FUN

Here are some quick and easy ways of making fitness fun:

  • Pilates ball to improve posture and reinforce the abdominals
  • Install a treadmill so employees can walk and work
  • Weekly Yoga sessions
  • Annual sports days
  • Get a few standing desks, so people can work whilst standing
  • Buy a table tennis table. It’s fun and helps burn calories
  • Hold standing meetings (maybe then nobody will fall asleep 😉)

Whether your business already encourages physical activity in the workplace or is planning to do so, we recommend checking guidance on using the tax system to offer gym memberships and sport facilities to staff.

As of May, 2020, the PayFit app now allows customers to offer gym memberships as a benefit to their employees.

Want to find out more about PayFit? Why not book a demo with one of our product specialists today?

PayFit blog author


UK Marketing Manager


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