Peak condition: why exercise should be part of your business strategy

Posted on: 11th July 2023

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Savvy business owners are recognising the need for employees to maintain a healthy balance between their professional and personal lives. Having the flexibility to manage responsibilities such as school runs and meal planning is one aspect, but there's more to it. Promoting regular exercise can also play a significant role in keeping teams healthy, energised, and ready to face the day.

A recent study discussed in the Harvard Business Review demonstrates a clear link between exercise and increased productivity at work. The study followed 200 employees from the UK and China over 10 days, capturing self-reported and objective physical activity data through wearable devices.

The findings make for interesting reading.

The impact of exercise on wellbeing and productivity

The study reinforces the World Health Organisation's mission to achieve a 15% reduction in global physical inactivity by 2030. It demonstrates that taking part in regular physical exercise kick starts a series of benefits – dubbed "resource caravans" – that supercharge work performance the following day.

Here's what exercisers gain:

  • A better night's sleep
  • An energy lift
  • Sharper focus and concentration
  • A motivational boost
  • Greater belief in their abilities

These findings echo research by IWG, which shows that hybrid workers – those who split their time between a company HQ, local workspaces, and home – are often healthier, happier, and more productive. With less time spent on commuting, there's more time for activities like jogging, walking, cycling, or hitting the gym. Plus, with flexible workspaces often closer to home, they might even get to walk or cycle to work, adding further exercise to their daily commute.

What this means for business leaders

Even setting aside the potential productivity boosts, encouraging employees to be more active can be transformative for businesses.

Firstly, it supports the overall health and wellbeing of the workforce. The World Health Organisation is unequivocal that regular physical activity is crucial in preventing serious conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and some forms of cancer. It's also a potent antidote for stress, anxiety and depression. Plus, physical activity is known to bolster the immune system. The upshot? Fewer sick days and improved business continuity.

But the benefits go beyond just warding off illness. When business leaders show they genuinely care about their employees' wellbeing, the payoffs can be significant. It can foster a positive work culture, enhance loyalty, and help retain top talent – reducing the costs and disruption associated with high employee turnover.

How to get your team members moving more

Globally, there are 1.4 billion adults that are not sufficiently active. In an increasingly service-based economy where much of the workforce is deskbound, a sedentary workforce appears to be a growing trend. But there are measures that employers can start taking right now to get their teams moving more– benefiting themselves and the company.

Create a corporate wellness programme

Implementing a corporate wellness programme can be a powerful way to care for your team's health and wellbeing. Plus, it can make your business more appealing to high-calibre job candidates. Programmes can encompass a range of offerings—from discounted gym memberships to yoga or tai chi classes, even access to therapists and physio centres.

In fact, IWG research shows a whopping 70% of office workers have found that a good workplace benefits package has grown in importance over the last two years. It's clear that these offerings are becoming essential for today's workforce.

In response to this demand, IWG recently unveiled a suite of wellbeing and fitness benefits for members. In the UK, partnerships with fitness aggregator Hussle and private healthcare provider Bupa give members an added boost in maintaining their health. In the US, members receive perks such as 24/7 access to virtual doctors, discounted gym memberships, and savings from over 340,000 online retailers. Extending its health initiative to the Netherlands, IWG recently announced an exclusive partnership with Dutch flexible sports platform, OneFit. This collaboration allows IWG members to access a variety of sports and wellness programmes both online and at over 1,000 locations across the country.

Encourage healthier commuting

When employees spend an hour or more just sitting during their commute, whether by car, bus or train, it adds to the amount of time they're inactive each day. Employers can help change this by making it easier and more attractive to commute in healthier ways. For example, they could promote cycling, walking or even running to work. Getting involved in initiatives like the UK's Cycle to Work scheme and offering facilities like showers and bike storage – which can be found at the majority of IWG locations across the world – can go a long way in nudging employees towards these active ways to get to work.

Give employees more flexibility

A little flexibility from employers can create more opportunities for exercise. Not everyone can make it to the gym outside of normal office hours. That's why some forward-thinking companies are even allowing employees to attend exercise classes during their workday. This shows a commitment to employee wellness and acknowledges the value of staying active.

Embrace the hybrid work model

One of the best ways to help employees stay fit and healthy is to adopt a hybrid work model. Mixing days spent at a local coworking space with time spent at company headquarters can drastically cut the hours spent commuting. This saved time can be used for exercise and preparing nutritious meals.

In fact, according to IWG, the average hybrid worker is getting 4.7 hours of exercise a week, compared to 3.4 hours before the pandemic. They're also eating better, with 46% eating more fruit, 44% more vegetables, and 20% more fish. These changes suggest a shift away from processed foods, typically high in salt, sugar, and fat, which can contribute to various health issues. So, not only does a hybrid work model boost productivity, it also promotes a healthier lifestyle.

Go hybrid with Regus

Regus flexspaces are all about promoting a healthier work life. With locations all over the globe, we make it easy for people to work closer to home. This means less time commuting and more time focusing on health and wellbeing.

Our wellness benefits are just the icing on the cake. They help Regus members stay healthy, happy, and firing on all cylinders – which is good for everyone.

Moving towards a healthier work model isn't just about getting more done. It's about creating a workplace culture that values wellbeing. This can lead to lower health costs and a team that's more involved, content, and committed. In a world where work and life are closely intertwined, it's crucial for businesses to support a balance between the two. With Regus, you're not just picking a flexible way to work – you're choosing a healthier, happier, and more productive team.

Regus has thousands of locations in more than 120 countries. Start searching for flexspaces near you today, and ensure you and your team have more time to look after your health.

Topics in this article

  • Productivity

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