Want happier, healthier, and more productive staff? The answer could be more exercise

April 1, 2015 Uli Aschenbrenner No Comments

When staff exercise regularly, they’ll work more efficiently and accurately. That’s a huge win for your business, so it makes sense to pay attention to how much your team members are exercising and how you can help.

Why exercise is so important for staff

Why does it matter anyway? Actually, regular, moderate exercise (jogging or fast walking two to three times a week can be enough) can improve mood and brain power, as well as obvious physical benefits.

It improves productivity

Regular exercise can help staff manage time better, work more efficiently, and feel more satisfied at the end of the day. One study of treadmill workstations found that after staff productivity dipped during an adjustment phase, it soared once staff were used to working while walking:

employee productivity

It improves cognitive performance

Exercise holds huge benefits in terms of brain power. It can help us ward off dementia, and preserve memory and thinking abilities in young adults. When combined with training to improve our working memory (that’s the bit that helps you remember a phone number by saying it over and over until you dial), exercise provides a huge boost to results.

It improves mood

Exercise has been shown to reduce anxiety, improve mood, and has even improved physical self-perceptions and self-esteem in some cases. It can even help us get along with others more easily.

And if all those benefits aren’t enough, be warned: inactivity can damage our brains as well as our bodies. So exercise is just as important for battling inactivity.

How to incorporate more exercise into the workday

Hopefully you’re convinced by now that exercise should be part of your regular routine. Let’s look at some ways to incorporate it into your own day, and that of your staff.

Walk to work

An oldie but a goodie: walk to work. If you can’t walk the whole way, a good compromise is to drive or take public transport part of the way and walk the rest. Park your car a little further from work, or get off the train a stop early to fit in some brisk walking. You can encourage staff to do the same, and even share the walk amongst team members who live in the same area.

Offer incentives

Staff wellness programs are becoming more common as companies realize the importance ”and benefits to productivity of keeping staff fit and healthy. Incentives can range from subsidized gym memberships to financial rewards for exercising more. The Wall Street Journal put together a list of different types of wellness programs and the pros and cons of each that should help you decide what will suit your staff best.

Take walking meetings

If you’re stuck in meetings all day, you can still get active. For one-on-on meetings in particular, try making it a walking meeting. The exercise can help you both think more clearly and the changing stimuli around you can be beneficial for brainstorming. You can also try this for long phone calls.

Take it in turns to do the coffee run

If you’re always sending someone out to do a coffee run, post mail, or take out the trash, try rotating through the team so everyone gets a turn for some extra exercise. If this isn’t already part of your routine, try looking for errands that need running or other activities that can add a little extra walking to your team’s workday.

Incorporate active break activities

Adding a ping pong table to your office or break room is a great way to encourage regular, casual exercise. No one’s going to feel put out for having to exercise if they’re playing ping pong! Plus, it’s a fun way for team members to bond.

If you don’t have room for a ping pong table at work, you could try getting your staff involved in a team sport on weekends another good way to mix bonding and exercise.


Photo credit: Curtis MacNewton / Foter / CC BY-SA

This post was written by Belle Beth Cooper

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