Previously on 1850 Thoughts, we’ve looked at healthy workspaces  and ways to keep active in a mostly-sedentary office-worker lifestyle. We also looked at the benefits of having an on-site gym; this perk being convenient, encouraging and promoting health in employees.

All these topics focus on well-being, health and fitness of employees, which are all associated with productivity and performance at work; today we’re looking at the facts and figures of UK workers in regards to exercise, with research from AXA PPP healthcare.

The study, of 1,000 full-time UK employees, found that 61% of employees receive no encouragement from their employer to lead an active lifestyle, despite 78% of bosses agreeing that exercise is beneficial for productivity.

Of course, it’s not entirely an employer’s responsibility to get employees to be healthy, but putting forward incentives such as discounted gym memberships or cycle-to-work schemes can be beneficial for all parties if it means employees’ productivity increases.

Of the employees who choose to work-out before work, 75% say it spurs them to be more effective when they get to the office, and 69% say they feel more productive after an active morning.

Of those who don’t exercise around their work commitments (whether that be morning, lunch-time or after work), reasoning surround the subjects of time and perception:
  • 26% don ’t have time to exercise before work or during lunch-breaks due to work-loads
  • 22% blame self-esteem issues, being body-conscious about working-out alongside fellow employees
  • 26% are worried about appearing unprofessional in gym-clothing in front of colleagues
  • 25% feel embarrassed about their fitness-level and appearing unfit in front of others
Tips for employers:

If you’re looking to promote active lifestyles for your employees, there are a number of options.
Introducing or altering flexible working could combat the lack-of-time issue allowing employees to fit in exercise when it suits them best, whether it be in the morning to kick-start the day, lunchtime for a midday boost, or after work to ease any stress or tension which may have built up during the day.

As previously mentioned, offering discounted gym memberships, advertising fitness classes and offering incentives and rewards for cycle-to-work schemes or similar.

To combat embarrassment and perception issues, consider making the office one where collaboration comes naturally – in co-working, collaborative spaces – and friendships are built to try and break down any barriers. If employees are comfortable and happy around each other, this may make exercising less embarrassing and more sociable and enjoyable.

Laura Sewell

An aspiring journalist, Laura is our Content Writer.  Pop-punk gig-goer and drag queen enthusiast, Laura is working her way into the industry with a love of writing about anything and everything in tow.
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