Often the time we spend on exercise and the time we spend at work is separate, and when time is short we are forced to prioritize one over the other--which means staying late and losing motivation for that post-work run outside. By carefully re-designing what a day in the office looks like--from the physical space to lunchtime routines--you can make your workplace more conducive to promoting fitness. They don’t have to be big changes! Many of these suggestions are small ways to encourage more active habits, cementing employee wellness as a company value.
1. Make it convenient
Gretchen Rubin, an author who studies and writes on creating good habits, stresses using the strategy of convenience to start exercising regularly. The best way to take advantage of this is to create an environment that encourages employees to be physically active.
While an onsite gym is the ideal convenience, it’s not always feasible. Is there bicycle storage in your building, making it easier for people to bike to work? How is the vending machine stocked? Do you regularly opt for the elevator instead of stairs? One great example of employers helping encourage employees to make small changes, is at the American Psychological Association. Every so often, the president of the APA hangs out in the stairwell with a $100 check, waiting to give it to the next person taking the stairs!
2. Include physical activity in the routine
Loosen up the standard 9-5 hours to make it more conducive to working out. The American Council on Exercise suggests a flexible schedule to make it easier for employees to balance work and home responsibilities, while prioritizing health.
Check for interest in setting up a weekly or monthly yoga class during lunch. Bringing the workout to the office also makes it convenient. Is it possible to conduct one-on-one meetings outside, to be combined with a brisk walk?
3. Create friendly competition for immediate pay-offs
Even with the promise of a “runner’s high,” it can be hard to find the motivation to work out when the pay-off of better health feels so far in the future.
Immediate rewards have proven to be powerful in continuing regular exercise, so consider short-term competitions to incentivize employees.
Employees can compete using fitness trackers, or utilizing the ActiveSoul app to reach the highest number of steps among their team, or trying to reach a collective goal. Consider a monthly raffle or prize giveaway for employees. After each workout, an employee could receive a ticket for that raffle or giveaway, with a drawing after a specific time frame such as 2 or 4 week sessions.
4. Foster social connection and accountability
Anyone who’s ever had a gym buddy knows that it’s harder to skip a workout when there is someone to keep you accountable. Organize groups between employees to attend a gym class together or run in a 5K. Set up teams where each partner shares wellness goals and checks in with each other on a regular basis. Research suggests we adopt the habits of those around us when it comes to physical activity, among other health benefits.
There’s also the classic-favorite office softball league, or if your company has multiple branches, consider recreating the picnic and volleyball game from The Office.
5. Partner with gyms to offer employee discounts
Who hasn’t used the excuse of gym fees to avoid a membership? The best of both worlds can be found with our ActiveSoul app! Perhaps the most financially incentivizing strategy from our suggestions above, ActiveSoul combines all of our suggested ways to promote fitness in the office. Reach out to us directly to learn more about how ActiveSoul can help your employees and your company achieve the wellness program employees love.