The way we envision a workplace is quite old-fashioned; a quiet, tense atmosphere where everyone is under pressure and stressed-out. However, the world of business doesn’t work that way anymore – with the age of millennials many things have changed. Work hours aren’t set in stone, a lot of effort is being put into developing creative jobs, and the focus isn’t only on nurturing professionals, but nurturing physically healthy professionals.
We should go over some relevant statistics first.
According to the American College of Science Medicine, the recommended workout time for anyone who wants to reap the benefits of exercise is 150 minutes of exercise per week, which is around 30 minutes 5 days a week. However, a staggering fact is that more than 80% percent of adults don’t get the amount of aerobic and anaerobic exercise recommended by the Department of Health & Human Services – and less than 5% do 30 minutes of exercise per day.
These numbers need to change as soon as possible. Hopefully, once you get to know the benefits of exercising at work, you will be eager to make this transition and turn your office into an environment that supports and encourages physical health.
No More Excuses
According to statistics, over 75% of adults don’t exercise properly or at all. It’s obvious that they never developed a workout habit, and the reason behind that is simple – excuses.
The most common excuse adults give as a reason why they don’t tend to their physical health is lack of time. The second most popular are unfavorable weather conditions, then come tiredness and lack of energy.
Like with everything else, the beginning is the hardest part. Once you eliminate excuses by starting a workout culture in your workplace, you’ll actually influence the development of an encouraging atmosphere that motivates people – which is exactly the gentle push you need.
Workstation or Not
Even though you might be bound to your work stations, there is a solution for you to workout while working on your tasks.
If this is the case, you should explore office workout equipment specially built for people who spend most of their time behind their desks. Pieces of equipment such as an under desk bike, or under desk pedals, and even an under desk treadmill might be the right thing for your office.
On the other hand, if you want a gentler approach that will still get you active, you can go with a standing desk. However, for this to work you should pay attention to the height of your desk because it plays an important role. You need to get the height just right so that you can retain a healthy posture while working.
However, for you to encourage teamwork in your office with regular workouts, the most important thing is to develop a regular training schedule that takes place in the morning, during lunch hours, or even after work.
A highly useful form of exercise here would be yoga. Besides feeling the benefits of regular exercise, you will also get to clear your mind. This kind of class will enable you to continue with your work refreshed and calm.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the major benefits from working out at the office.
1. A Great Team Building Method
A team’s success isn’t based only on their expertise, but also on how they function together as a unit. This is why experts recommend that you implement team building activities.
Chances are that you’ve heard the saying: “A couple that works out together, stays together.” That’s because their unity isn’t based only on feelings, but mutual work that requires communication and effort. Well, the same goes for a team of professionals. Get staff working out together to get them working together. It’s simple!
If you want the members of your team to function together as a group, they need to spread their communication outside the borders of work-related talk.
When employees work out together, they will develop common goals. If they are to achieve these goals, they will need to provide each other with support and assistance. This kind of bond will reflect on their work performance, and positive changes will be visible very quickly.
2. Healthy Energy Refill
What often comes as an obstacle to maintaining a high level of performance is lack of focus. When this happens, people turn to artificial solutions such as caffeine and energy drinks. While a bit of coffee isn’t really bad for you, energy drinks are known to be terrible for your health.
What you actually need is an increase in blood flow and circulation. When a person works out, they become more alert and sharper. This happens because of an increase in blood flow to the brain.
Therefore, a workout break is much more effective than a coffee break. On average, employees who exercise in the workplace report an energy boost that exceeds fifteen percent. Furthermore, over sixty percent of people who exercise notice a positive change in their thinking process.
However, you should be aware of the fact that the immediate post-workout effects are only short-term. To be able to bring out the best in you and your team, you need to implement discipline and make sure that exercising takes place on a daily basis.
If you can encourage a workout culture in your office, you will be able to notice long-term changes. For starters, employees who work out are healthier, which means they are less prone to getting ill so sick days won’t be as common. Besides, a workout culture will have significant effects on the overall health of your employees. People who exercise are less prone to developing more severe diseases related to cardiovascular and respiratory problems. These types of health issues are often tied to a sedentary lifestyle.
At first, the results of working out in your office will be visible on a daily basis – the boost of energy will positively reflect on your team’s productivity. Moreover, if this change sticks around, productivity levels will skyrocket, and you’ll have a team of perfectly healthy employees around you.
3. Happy and Motivated Employees
A happy employee is a hard-working employee who won’t browse through other job opportunities. There are a lot of problems with employee retention, and replacing an employee can often cost up to half of that employee’s yearly salary. Starting a workout culture at your workplace can help you with this as well because exercising makes people happy.
When we begin a workout, a little chemical firework occurs in our mind. To begin with, the human brain recognizes exercise as a stressful event happening in your body. In an attempt to battle with the discomfort, your mind is clever enough to release a natural painkiller – endorphins. It’s no wonder that people feel relaxed and even ecstatic after a workout; endorphins can also cause a general feeling of euphoria.
Besides this, successfully completing workout activities leads to that familiar feeling of accomplishment. Personal achievement satisfaction builds confidence, and that kind of confidence will reflect on the way you perform your work tasks.
Therefore, by working out on a daily basis, the team won’t only increase their performance and invest into their long-term health, but they will also be happier. Naturally, this will contribute to the general atmosphere around the office, which will become a positive, friendly, and welcoming environment.
4. Stress Relief
Considering the fact that the market is highly saturated right now and that the competition is not to be taken lightly, it’s quite common for a job and stress go hand in hand.
Working under stress isn’t good for the physical or mental health of your employees. Besides, someone who’s dealing with increased stress levels isn’t capable of making well-thought-out decisions, which isn’t good for overall business.
Prolonged stress is the main reason why people experience burnouts as well as anxiety and depression in the workplace. However, if you find a way to channel this anxiety through a highly beneficial activity, you can begin to deal with problems like creative blocks and mental fog.
Daily exercising is a highly effective way to get rid of stress. Working up a sweat is a good way to release built-up tension and aggression – metaphorically speaking, you will sweat out your negative feelings. With a clear, sharp and focused mind, you will then be able to make better decisions and come up with creative solutions to problems.
5. It Helps You Save Money in the Long Run
A valid reason why a significant number of adults don’t exercise, and which doesn’t fall into the category of excuses, is lack of money. Sometimes, it takes a while to find a solution for this problem; some people just can’t fit it into their budget.
Gyms and workout programs can be expensive, and not everyone can afford this kind of luxury. If your office creates a workout program and provides space and equipment, the employees have just another reason to stay and contribute to your business.
This won’t just benefit the company – it contributes to building a strong community. A company built on trust and healthy values won’t have any trouble finding new employees. Besides, you might even be fulfilling someone’s long-term desire to start working out without even knowing it.
6. It’s More Convenient for Your Staff
Let’s be honest, motivating yourself to get out of the office an go to the gym is TOUGH!
But what if the office was your gym?!
Having a workout program fit for the office, and an office that facilitates their staff’s health is much more convenient than a gym. As we mentioned earlier, it will also be a lot more economical for you.
If you have a one-hour lunch break at your work, it would be easy to dedicate 15 minutes or even half an hour to your health. There are many simple exercises you can do at the office in this time-frame.
7. It’s Fun
Finally – exercising at work is fun! If you need a reason to get out of bed each morning to get yourself to work, then exercising is it!
Even if your business has limited funds, you can still turn your office space into an entertaining workplace by replacing chairs with pilates balls, and the office cubicle for a few pieces of exercise equipment for the office. After this initial effort, you’ll start to notice a wave of positive energy in your company.
This kind of response will be motivating for both the employees and the business owner. When you have an enthusiastic team that works hard and has fun at the same time, you’ll be ready to face any challenge.
Now, it’s your turn!
So, the benefits of exercising at work extend to many different fields. Starting a workout culture will reflect on the health of your team and give everyone a motivation boost.
The new, productive team will be capable of dealing with demanding projects, and your office will become a supportive and stress-free environment. As your team shares a common physical activity, they will also be able to communicate more effectively with each other.
If you let go of the traditional vision of what an office should look like and introduce daily exercise as part of the job description, your work, and the business will experience an amazing positive change.
Reviewed and approved by Dr. Praveena Asokan.