Wheels, feet and workspaces.

April 12, 2016    Ann Clarke     , ,

British employees are certainly on a fitness mission – it’s now just as common to see employees running to the office or arriving on bike as it is pulling into the car park. Yet despite this running and cycling bug far too few workspaces cater for their fitness loving staff.

As an employer trying to manage your cost base you may well wonder why you should consider this at all. In recent years the subject of employee and workplace wellbeing, and its correlation to productivity, loyalty and efficiency have been widely proven. It’s not surprising then that workplace wellbeing now regularly appears on boardroom agendas and is seen as a vital contributor to business longevity. Encouraging healthy living among your workforce is beneficial all round.

We should also consider that the UK has the highest level of obesity in Western Europe, which brings with it a heightened risk of diabetes, heart disease and more. With sick days and long term illness proving a hefty cost for employers, it really is in a business’s interest to keep its employees well, healthy and motivated.

So, as the London Marathon gets underway this weekend and the Tour de France approaches in July, how can you make provision for your fitness fans and encourage the rest of your team to get involved too?

Install or provide access to showers and changing rooms.

Give employees who choose to run or cycle into work the facilities to freshen up before the day ahead. Sweaty workers in crumped clothes wont’ set the right impression to clients and certainly won’t win over colleagues either. Also consider that there many be several other employees who would exercise during lunch or cycle to work if they had appropriate facilities to use afterwards.

If it’s not practical to install a shower in your WCs consider whether there’s a dis-used space that could be converted, if there are shared facilities elsewhere in the building or if your landlord might consider the addition.

Provide secure bike stores.

Of course cyclists need somewhere to keep their bikes safely, securely and out of the way. Many large employers provide secure bike stores outside, or even bike racking within the building for additional security. Consider how you can give your cycling colleagues the same peace of mind that car drivers have.

Invest in lockers.

Fitness loving employees will need somewhere to keep their things whether it’s running shoes, a helmet, a ruck-sack or a change of clothes. Some workspaces already have lockers in a bid to avoid ‘owned’ desk spaces and to keep personal clutter to a minimum. If you don’t have the space or budget for lockers allocate somewhere that can be used and locked up safely.

Get everyone involved.

Not every employee wants to run or cycle to work, but there may be others who’d like a weekly yoga or fitness class or who would take advantage of a lunchtime cycle or walk. Perhaps you have the space to accommodate an activity in the office (in a meeting room) or could fund a weekly session for your employees in a local gym? Also give your cycle to work scheme a dust off and see if the idea of a new bike will get others involved too.

It’s not practical for every company to support all employees’ interests of course, but there are direct business benefits in having a healthy and fit workforce. Small changes to your workspace or landlord agreement could better serve the needs of your active employees and help to encourage a behavioural change in the rest of your staff too. We should remember, healthy employees make healthy businesses.

To find out more about workplace wellbeing and how to write a wellbeing agenda, download our Workplace Wellbeing whitepaper, which is full of guidance and advice:

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