Mark Dobson, Workplace Incentives Partner
Workplace Fundamental: Exercise
One of the key workplace fundamentals is exercise. What percentage of the population do you think actually exercises at home? We know we talk about it, and some people go for a walk and some play sports but many of our working population won’t do the exercise or as much fitness as they should or would probably like to.
For the purposes of this discussion we haven’t researched any statistics on who does/doesn’t undertake exercise at home. Instead we think it makes more sense for you to simply look around your office. Just by looking you can probably get a good idea of the number of people who exercise regularly or enough, within your workplace sample.
It is our belief that what most people are doing is living from one screen to the next. They go from the computer screen at work, to their phone screen to and from work, perhaps a tablet, and then to a TV screen when they get home. Many of us do this and in itself it’s not a healthy way to live but it is becoming more and more the pattern of modern society.
What happens when staff are then at work one day and are asked to pick up a box of files, maybe utilise a ladder, or undertake a task that actually forces them to move or be physical? After doing next to know exercise constantly and then undertaking a large one-off ‘exercise’ they’re likely to cause injury to themselves.
We now have an injured employee, at work, who doesn’t think there’s any reason why they shouldn’t have been able to undertake the simple task requested. As such, they’re not going to blame themselves; they’re going to blame their employer. They shouldn’t have been lifting a box, that isn’t their job. Or perhaps the box is overfilled? Maybe they weren’t trained in lifting boxes? Either way it’s going to come back on you as a manager or the company as a whole.
Therefore if you as a manager, leader, boss, or business owner are in the firing line for blame should something like this occur, you might as take responsibility and work on prevention. Working with employees to emphasise the importance of exercise, by encouraging it within the workplace for example, should not only prevent the aforementioned scenario but will also ‘win over’ your employees. You are showing you care about their health, you’re showing them that you want them to be at their best.
If you look back to the 80’s there was footage of entire Japanese workforces exercising in these massive aerobics sessions before they began work. We laughed. You laughed. The nation laughed. It was just so robotic and such a silly notion it was rejected en mass. However the truth is, that was the early formation of corporate health, wellness, and a focus on keeping employees fit. The Japanese had the right idea; they knew that if they had a fit & strong workforce they had better employees and so they took the health of their staff to be part of their employment.
Here we are 30 years later and the rest of world realises that they were onto something and we are now solving the same issue. Companies are now utilising workshops, seminars, and classes or sessions for fitness, group exercise or Yoga. Employers are taking responsibility for exercising the workplace, knowing that there is direct correlation to the health, the productivity, and absenteeism but not only that…morale!
People love moving together. Your mood is directly linked to the way you move your body. If you’re body is moving all crazy and all over the place you can’t help but smile and feel happy (go on, try it now), if you’re just sat still, motionless you feel down, or uneasy. If people move together, they move their moods together. That’s not a theory, that’s the way it works.
There’s such value in the fundamental of exercise, it’s just a matter of how long it takes for employers to really switch on and just grab hold of it. Keep your staff fit and healthy and you’ll have a better workplace.