Workout class

Active spaces: the future of workplace workouts

An ever growing number organisations are recognising health and wellbeing as a top business priority.

Exercise plays an important role in contributing to wellbeing, and should be taken into consideration when forming your overall wellbeing strategy. Not only does exercise improve the physical health of your workforce, but it has strong links with mental health.

These days it’s not all about having a large corporate gym to provide your staff with easy access to exercise. The future of workplace fitness is changing and the companies leading the way are looking to more dynamic solutions. Innovating new ways to provide access to fitness is key in improving happiness, productivity and overall wellbeing.

Innovating access to fitness

We often see big organisations such as Google offering in-house gym facilities to their employees. Whilst this is an ideal solution to improve physical wellbeing across the workforce, it’s unrealistic for many businesses.

Various companies are investing in personal trainers who are experienced in delivering classes to groups of staff, which could be yoga, dance or even high intensity cardio. Such classes are suitable for companies of all sizes as they don’t always require a fully equipped gym facility.

People are looking at corporate fitness in different ways and some are starting to look at how spaces in the office can be used more innovatively. These multipurpose spaces could be meeting rooms or empty spaces within the office that can easily be transformed and used for health and wellbeing initiatives.

The ‘active space’

An active space is an ideal solution for workplaces of all sizes to incorporate a whole of workforce fitness initiative.

Simply having a flexible room or space within the office that can be used for anything from lunchtime fitness classes to standing meetings gives employees the opportunity and option to be more active.

One of the ways organisations are starting to adopt this trend is through incorporating non-fixed spaces. This could be through standing desks, movable walls or multipurpose areas – providing a space that’s truly flexible to encourage and enable more movement and activity.

Sedentary lifestyle

Whilst there are many ways to provide employees with access to fitness, it’s important to recognise that it’s not just about making sure that employees are engaging in physical activity outside of working hours.

The sedentary lifestyle poses huge risks for office workers. There’s evidence to suggest that exercising outside of working hours has no effect on the detrimental effects of sedentary behaviour, so it’s equally important to encourage your staff to be more active throughout the working day.

Business benefits of exercise

There are lots of other added health benefits to providing access to fitness for your workforce. Exercise also supports mental wellbeing and can help to alleviate stress, which if not dealt with can lead to burnout, causing low morale and productivity across the business.

Physical activity can also give an added boost to employee engagement, it can lower absenteeism and presenteeism rates and even improve recruitment and retention. Staff are also more likely to sleep better and have more energy throughout the day.

Next steps

When considering any health and wellbeing solution it’s important to remember that there’s no one size fits all – especially when it comes to a fitness initiative.

Not all employees will want the same things so you will need to offer your workforce choices through providing a variety of fitness options. You should never make assumptions – make sure that you understand the needs of your people through carrying out surveys or taking part in focus groups with employees.

It’s also important to recognise that behaviour change is also difficult and doesn’t happen overnight. But by making sure you understand the needs of your business, you are empowering you employees to make decisions by providing them with a solution that best meets their requirements, making them much more likely to participate.

Once you’re ready to roll out an initiative, you need to be prepared to continually gather feedback to ensure its success, making sure that what you are offering is the right solution and that it still meets the needs of the organisation. Periodical assessment is paramount to assess efficiency and effectiveness in delivering the goals that were established.

Get in touch to find out how Westfield Health can support you with active space solutions and corporate gym management.

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