Corporate Fitness Programs: Are they worth it?

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What is a corporate fitness program? It basically describes the programs, activities or other health and sports related options an employer offers to his employees. The purpose of these programs is to raise awareness considering health related problems, and to ensure an increase in fit and healthy employees.corporate-employee-race

Building a good team that works for a company is not an easy thing to do these days. Companies keep re-inventing wheels to ensure that their employees are happy where they work. This not only leads to smiles on faces, but also to a decrease in sickness related problems.

One of these teambuilding strategies is fitness, because everyone wants healthy employees. Corporate companies seem to take their employees more serious as it comes to any illnesses or diseases. They have figured out that sick employees cost a lot more than it cost to help them to stay fit, healthy and happy.

It is not sufficient anymore to just hang some fitness related posters on the walls of the offices, or put up signs that say that it’s healthier to take the stairs instead of the elevator, or even to have a gym somewhere in the office building. Corporate businesses need to pull a little bit harder now.

Let’s start with why it is good for the corporate employers. The costs of healthcare have increased in the past decade. So much, that it is one of the biggest financial issues in any business. Sick employees, that have to stay home, cost money. They are not working, not earning money for the company. Of course, any business would rather like to spend a little on work floor health than on insurance payments.

And why is it good for the employees to join a fitness program? Well, obviously a healthy body can take you a lot further in life. The whole world has finally figured out that doing any sports related activities is always better than not doing anything at all. Besides, it costs less money for the employees too. Discounts on gym memberships or a free bike to commute from home to work, are only some of the perks.

A higher level of awareness can be the first step in the path to healthier, happier employees. Posters or office emails about the various company’s health and sports related options is a way to ensure that everyone knows that the company they work for offers such things. Organizing an office seminar could also work. Employees become aware of the risks they might be at and how to prevent these in a healthy way.

Chronic diseases such as heart related illnesses, strokes, several forms of cancer and obesity, can be prevented by exercising on a regular basis. Of course, there are more factors involved, but exercising and a solid healthy lifestyle are certainly not making anything worse!

According to a research article, found on the employeebenefits.co.uk page (March 2015), 40% of the UK employers saw a decrease in illness related absences from work. A better work place and the health and fitness related opportunities were responsible for more than 80% of this outcome.

The Daily Telegraph mentions (2015) that absenteeism costs about £15 billion for the UK companies. This year, the Britain’s Healthiest Company competition is in its third year again. This organization “provides you with an effective approach to measure and manage the health risks within your organisation”. More information can be found on their website.

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Looking for more ‘proof’ or information about corporate wellness and fitness programs? Go online and google! There are many different sources that all say the same: It is worth paying for corporate fitness programs in the office. To name one, the UK Department for Work and Pensions has a whole report published online about the advantages of wellness implemented programs at work. As the say the rapport ”… considers the business and economic case for employers to invest in staff wellness programs.” And of course, “Workplace Wellness” even has its own Wikipedia page.

What are the options for a business? What should they do? Besides the already mentioned options, there’s an array of other activities or plans that can be implemented in practically and corporation.

How about the following:

  • Weekly walking sessions. Let’s go outside and take a walk in the park. Or organize ‘walking meetings’, instead of meeting in the boardroom again.
  • Invest in a couple of treadmills, or cross-trainers. During lunch, or right after work, many employees will be grateful.
  • Employees that sit behind a desk all day, all week, all year, will benefit from a weekly exercise training. Employees can learn how to stretch the cramped up muscles, prevent carpal tunnel syndrome and sit in their chairs the proper way.
  • Organizing corporation tournaments. A baseball game between departments, or locations can work miracles for team spirit and it would be a great fun day out.
  • Online, a lot of different health related applications for the use in offices can be found. For instance, there are timers that count the amount of hits on the keyboards that shut down the use after a certain number of hits within a certain time. There are apps that show a pop up screen every 15 or 30 minutes to remind the employee to take a short break. These apps will automatically also shut down the computer if the reminders are ignored.
  • Group training sessions either onsite, a gym or outside in the office garden. There are fitness organization that specialize in corporate fitness. They know exactly what kinds of exercises the employees need.

 

bootcampMore information on the last point, the group training sessions at work, can be found here on the website. Keepfitbootcamp offers companies the opportunity for teambuilding, fitness training sessions and even yoga and boxing.

Just to sum it all up: Fitness programs, incentives and other health related activities are a very good way for any employer to gain a more supporting, trusting and fun relationship between co-workers. It also decreases the risks of sickness related financial corporate problems.

Get on it!