Building a Motivated Team of Physically Fit and Productive Employees

If you are a busy executive and still find time to hit the gym, good for you. Research has proven that exercise can supercharge work productivity. It also helps us tread that tightrope of work-life balance, which many find so elusive.

But it isn’t just enough to be the only active person at your workplace. According to experts, workers who take time out in the day to exercise experience a 15% boost in their output.

If you run a company or have the influence, engage your employees in a good exercise regimen. I don’t mean enforcing a spartan-like environment of fitness training, you’ll only end up achieving the opposite for their morale.

Instead, find a creative way into infusing work-outs or gym memberships as part of your office perks. Whether it’s introducing it as a team-building activity or adopting mid-day calisthenics, your employees will be happier and healthier.

Healthy employees save you money; happy employees translate to motivation and productivity, which in turn means long-term success for your company.

Build such superstars with these techniques:

  1. Encourage it from the top

Believe it or not, more employees than you know are willing to adopt a fitness routine during the day, but fear being seen as ‘working-out’ instead of working. Unfortunately, some people have learned to associate exercising as an extra-curricular activity, instead of a necessity.

To correct this impression, encourage your employees to exercise and lead by example. Let them see other senior executives do the same. If you can, set up a special room in your company where employees can take a break to cycle for 10 to 15 minutes or go on short jogs on a BH Fitness LKT8 treadmill. You can work out an arrangement so it doesn’t interfere with regular work schedules.

  1. Provide a variety of workstations

Your employees can ‘work out’ without actively working out. The workplace floor plan has evolved over the years. While it was commonplace to have a single workstation/cubicle in the past, today’s avant-garde culture allows for multiple workplaces. Which means as long as they have a laptop and a sitting space, people can set up ‘shop’ and deliver.

A sedentary workspace can be monotonous. Having multiple workstation options means freedom to move about. Customizing a fitness routine can also be a fun way to help employees be more enthusiastic to get moving. This encourages blood flow and circulation around the body. Without knowing it, your employees will be exercising while they work.

  1. Stock up on bowls of fresh fruit

If you have a cafeteria at your company, ensure you introduce a healthy-foods option. Limit junk food and instead, stock up on healthier varieties such as grain, nuts, vegetables, fish, eggs, milk, white meat, water and so on. Protein foods such as beans or yoghurt complement healthy workplace snacks.

The importance of fresh fruits cannot be ignored either. Fruits such as chewy apples or carrots are great for the eyes, viscera and oral health. Oranges and tangerines contain Vitamin C that prevents inflammation. Bananas are high in potassium which is good for electrolytic balance. Always make sure there is a rich supply of fresh fruit around the office.

  1. Watercooler workouts

If your watercooler is traditionally at the end of a room- as in most offices- consider moving it somewhere a bit ‘out-of-place’. By this, I mean far from their workstations. For example, if they are upstairs, you could have it stationed downstairs and vice versa. The idea is to get them to use the stairs more often. Encourage your staff to use the stairs as it offers its own form of exercise.

This isn’t limited to watercoolers alone. The photocopier and other office equipment that are usually staff convene areas should be placed off-key to increase exercise.

  1. Get the ergonomics right

This may be common knowledge, but it will surprise you to know few companies get it right when it comes to laptop or desktop positioning. It may not feel like your typical work out advice, but ergonomics play a significant role in health and fitness.

The average worker spends at least 49 hours a week at work, it is, therefore, critical to know what positions they assume and the healthiest ways to do so. Office desks should be the right height and width. Laptop screens should be on the same level as the users’ eyes. Sometimes instead of regular seats, a bouncy ball can suffice; it is flexible and more suitable for the hip joints.

  1. Suggest a Hike/bike to work day

While it is possible that not all your employees live within walking distance from the office, you could still encourage some form of hike or bike to work day. This way, your staff can exercise in the morning while conserving fuel. Besides reducing carbon footprints, your company and employees also save money on fuel.

To make this work, you have to lead by example. It wouldn’t help if your employees are sweating it on the sidewalk when you zoom past in your Beemer. It doesn’t just kill their sense of team spirit, it makes you look hypocritical. You can make exceptions for people who live quite far from work.

  1. Give rewards in the form of spa treatments

How do you incentivize your staff? Gone are the days when this was a debate issue. In order to encourage performance, organizations should openly appreciate the effort of star performers. Sometimes, instead of a simple back pat or cash reward, consider hiring a masseuse to treat them to a full body massage.

Depending on your company, this might be expensive, so limit it to special occasions when it is truly worth it. If you are a small company, seek cheaper alternatives. There are always budget options that are equally effective. Active work out sessions are great, so is a relaxing body massage.

  1. Consider a subsidized gym membership for employees

Not all companies have the budget to set up a work out station or room on the premises. If your organization is one of those, consider subsidizing a certain percentage of your employees’ gym membership fees. If possible, an arrangement with a nearby fitness club is a good idea.

While not everybody will take up this offer, you should engage those who do. At the same time, it is worth noting that a HBR study showed that employee wellness programs are among the benefits top talents look out for when selecting a company. Meaning, this could affect the quality of talent your company attracts.

  1. Organise more outdoor programs

Some companies have premises large enough to favour outdoor workout activities, sort of like a university campus. This is a good thing, and serves to buttress point no. 2. But where such arrangements are unavailable, a suitable alternative is outdoor team building workshops.

On certain days, you can organize extracurricular activities; games, competitions, sporting events and programs make for good exercise. They are also bonding opportunities for your employees to know each other better. This is valuable for all types of organizations- not agile ones alone.

There is only so much you can do for your colleagues; a lot of it will be their decision. But if you can make fitness a core part of your workplace culture, it will stick. Think about including it in your weekly office training and membership drives. Your staff’s health will go a long way in helping your business grow.