- Create dedicated physical activity workspaces in the office to house exercise equipment.
- Provide areas for team sports and recreational activities.
- Set up separate changing rooms and provide lockers for storing items.
- Have a shower facility with appropriate water softener services.
- Provide access to healthy snacks and a rest area for relaxation after exercise.
Exercise is an integral part of employee health and well-being, and employers are responsible for ensuring their employees are adequately supported in their exercise habits. Regular exercise has been linked to improved mental and physical health, increased productivity, and better overall job performance. Adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate weekly exercise to reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Employees who exercise regularly also have more energy throughout the day, are better equipped to handle workplace stressors, and can save an employer’s money by reducing absenteeism due to illness or injury caused by a sedentary lifestyle.
For employers to create an environment that encourages regular exercise for their staff, they must provide access to resources to help them do so. What better way to do it than adjusting the workplace to make room for exercise? Here are a few steps to accomplish this.
Create Room for Physical Activities
Employers should consider creating dedicated physical activity workspaces in the workplace. This can be as simple as setting aside a corner of the office to house some exercise equipment such as exercise bands, yoga mats, and free weights, or something more extensive like setting up a walking trail with outdoor exercise stations. Providing easy access to physical activity items is critical in inspiring employees to get moving during the workday.
Additionally, employers may want to consider providing room for team sports and recreational activities. A gym or designated area with volleyball, basketballs, badminton sets, and other games can give employees a place to take a break from their desks and engage in healthy physical activity.
Eliminating cultural stigma against exercising at work can also help create an atmosphere where employees feel comfortable discussing exercise and participating in physical activities during their breaks. Encouraging employees to share their personal goals related to training on social media accounts or having gym-like challenges between teams are other great ways to normalize working out at the office.
Get the Supporting Features
The physical exercise area is not the only feature employers should consider when adjusting the workplace to encourage exercise. Sweat and odor can be overwhelming for colleagues, so employers should set up separate changing areas and provide lockers for storing items. Additionally, adequate ventilation in the physical activity area is essential to ensure employees are comfortable exercising.
However, it is the supporting features that come with the exercise room that becomes necessary. Here are a few of them:
Having a shower facility is essential for employees who exercise during their lunch break or before and after work. Allowing workers to shower and freshen up after exercise will help them feel more comfortable and not self-conscious about their appearance while working. Having showers available will encourage more employees to get moving and exercise as they will not have to worry about washing off afterward. Of course, you must get water softener services to ensure the showers are working optimally and all safety protocols are in place. Bathing is an entirely different purpose from what offices usually require, so it is necessary to ensure they are prepared for more rigorous use.
Access to healthy snacks in the workplace energizes employees throughout the day. Healthy food options such as granola bars, fruit, nuts, yogurt, or trail mix are practical options that provide energy without being overly filling or sugary. This helps give employees a boost of energy that is low in calories but high in nutritional value, which is especially important for those who exercise regularly. A snack bar with healthy food options promotes healthier eating habits and incentivizes employees to move more throughout the day.
Physical exercise is strenuous and requires rest for the body to recover. A comfortable area with chairs, couches, and cushions where employees can relax after exercise will help them recharge and prepare for the afternoon work ahead. This can also be an opportunity to discuss workout progress with colleagues to set new goals or learn about helpful tips.
If the office is large enough, employers should consider investing in locker rooms or lockers for employees to store their belongings. Providing a secure place to keep personal items like gym clothes and towels will boost employee morale and encourage more staff to get moving during their workday.
Encourage Work-Life Balance
While exercise at the workplace can be incredibly beneficial, it should not be used as an excuse to work more hours. Encouraging employees to stick to their schedules and take regular breaks from their desks ensures they do not over-exert themselves or become overwhelmed with work.
Working out might be ideal for them at home or the commercial gym, so you must not force them to exercise at the office. Ultimately, it is up to the employee whether or not they choose to exercise or take a break from their desks. Encouraging work-life balance and providing employees with enough resources for adequate rest is essential in fostering an environment that promotes well-being.
Creating an environment where employees can exercise and participate in healthy physical activities is a great way to boost morale, increase productivity, and improve overall job satisfaction. Employers should strive to adjust the workplace to make room for exercise and support their staff by providing access to resources that promote healthy habits. With the right tools and features, employers will be one step closer to helping their workers stay active and energized throughout the day.