April Showers Brings May…Fitness Activities?
May is Global Employee Health & Fitness Month (GEHFM) and spotlights the workplace’s role in helping to create healthier, happier employees. With the average FT employee spending over 50% of their time in the workplace, corporations are recognizing their impact on employee wellness and their subsequent responsibility to educate and provide opportunities for cultivating healthy lifestyles.
Organizations that lead with wellness in mind are more productive, have a more engaged workforce and a company culture that retains employees and attracts others.
By investing in fitness-centric opportunities within the workplace, employers are creating a culture that embodies being physically active as a priority in their workplace. Which, in turn, creates a culture that embodies high levels of employee engagement and profitability. Certainly, fitness and wellness significantly impact each individual differently, but the impact on the organization as a whole creates an overall shift in the quality and the manner in which work is performed.
Here are just a few benefits of implementing fitness within a wellness program at the workplace:
• Employees are happier in general and don’t have the “dread” of Mondays
• Employees are more energetic and therefore are more productive and engaged in the company and its culture.
• One study found that when employees exercise three times a week for at least 30 minutes, they are 15% more likely to have a higher job performance
• Employees experience increased self-esteem, confidence, and sense of self-worth
• Employees are less stressed and therefore handle their daily workload more efficiently
• Employees take less health-related sick days
• Over time, employees will have a reduction in health risks (reduced hypertension and high blood pressure, improved BMI, back pain, and more) resulting in a decreased medical premium for the company as a whole.
• According to a study by the University of Louisville, every dollar invested in a wellness program generated $7 in health care savings
• Companies with fitness and wellness programs, experience less absenteeism
• Among employers offering and measuring their wellness efforts, more than half have found a decrease in absenteeism, 63% are experiencing financial sustainability and growth in the organization, 66% reported increased productivity, and 67% said employees are more satisfied
• When workers exercise and eat healthy foods, absenteeism is 27% lower, and the performance of healthy employees is 11% higher than their overweight peers
• Companies with fitness and wellness programs, experience less presenteeism (when the employee is at work but does not perform)
• The cost of presenteeism can be 2-3 times greater than the cost of direct health care expenses
• Employees who don’t get enough exercise are 50% more likely to have high presenteeism than employees who were regular exercisers
• Companies with a health-focused incentive package can recruit and retain better talent.
Because successfully promoting and implementing fitness opportunities and wellness programming within any company starts at the top, it’s critical that executive leadership…well, leads by example.
Many companies are taking the CEO Pledge promoted by the National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity (NCPPA) which encourages every CEO in the United States to recognize physical activity as an essential driver of employee health and business performance.
“To promote health in the workplace, there must be consistent and visible support from leaders, beginning with the CEO,” points out Laurie Whitsel, the director of policy research at the American Heart Association (AHA), and president-emeritus of the NCPPA board of directors.
“Leadership is critical,” said Scott Goudeseune, the CEO of the American Council of Exercise (ACE), and president of the NCPPA’s board. “There must be clear, strong, and ongoing support, beginning with the CEO, for workplace health and wellness programs to take root.”
It is remarkable to be a part of a larger movement that extends beyond company walls and focusing on transforming lives by improving personal health and workplace health. GEHFM is a tremendous opportunity for employers to help their employees see the value of adopting healthier behaviors.
Fitness and wellness should be a continual goal. And this month-long international observance launched by the National Association for Health and Fitness and ACTIVE Life is a great springboard for a larger, year-round wellness effort. Employers can use GEHFM as an opportunity to highlight fitness-based components of wellness to initiate and incentivize events both in and out of the workplace.
Below are just a few ideas to support and increase fitness minded wellness in and out of the workplace:
• REWARD MOVEMENT. Find ways to reward meeting step goals and encourage employees to start taking the stairs, walking to colleague’s offices instead of emailing, taking meetings outside and walking, and any other opportunities throughout the day to move and get the blood flowing
• PARTNER UP with a local gym so that you can offer your employees discounted rates and incentives for utilizing classes and equipment
• DITCH THE TIME CONSTRAINTS. Employees who take the time to engage in physical activity are 2-3 times more productive during the hours they work. Giving employees some leeway with their lunch “hour” can help them perform more effectively and efficiently once they get back to their desks
• MAKE IT A TEAM EFFORT. Sign up for a group or company 5k or 10k run. Make it a friendly competition by signing up company teams
Fitness doesn’t just benefit the physical health of your office space, but can elevate moral while establishing a cohesive work community that motivates and encourages each other. Committing to and investing in wellness and fitness shows your commitment and investment in your human capital, which is any company’s most valuable asset.
NAKOAWELL knows that introducing health initiatives into any company culture can be tricky. Our dedicated Account Management teams can assist you in creating a wellness solution that works for your unique company needs and culture. We don’t just launch your initiatives, but we help with the promotion and communications that will reach your entire organization. Find out more about the “Wellness Warrior Way.” Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. The difference is the way we live.
About the Contributor: