When do your employees have time to exercise?

December 14

Employee benefits should include time for weekday workouts

 

Wellness benefits in the workplace means much more than simply ‘checking off that box.’ Wellness in the workplace means introducing employee benefits programs that truly increase health, mental wellbeing, engagement and morale.

One effective initiative is to give employees time for weekday workouts. Yet, this concept is frequently overlooked and pushed aside in favour of deadlines, important meetings and a general sense of too much work in too few hours.

Here at Thorpe Benefits, we don’t believe that deadlines and workloads trump employee wellness programs. Two years ago, we introduced Tracksuit Tuesday. We did so to support exercise and wellness in the workplace but Tracksuit Tuesday is so much more than that. Because we’re not just promoting a 30-minute workout break in the middle of the day, we’re supporting healthy lifestyles, motivating employees to exercise more in general and creating better employee relationships.

The thing about including employee wellness in the workplace is it doesn’t actually take away from the busy workday. Encouraging employees to exercise during the workday makes good business sense. Employees return from these workouts (whatever they may be) feeling refreshed and focused. Lost time on exercise isn’t actually lost time because it is made back and more in terms of improved motivation, creativity and productivity.

Tracksuit Tuesday: One of Thorpe Benefits’ solutions to workplace wellness

So what does a typical Tracksuit Tuesday look like in our office?

Employees tend to arrive with a bit of a bounce in their step because they woke up that morning and put on their most comfortable track pants and running shoes. Some opt to use stairs rather than escalators or elevators on their commute, including the 10 flights up to our offices because doing so is always easier in running shoes than heels.

Throughout the day, our tracksuits act as a constant visual reminder that physical activity is important for both mental and physical health — we tend to stretch more often because again, doing so is far more comfortable in track pants than in dress pants or a skirt and tights.

Our weekday office workouts

But, let’s not forget the main reason we wear tracksuits — and that’s for our midday 30-minute workout.

Sometimes we sweat, sometimes we laugh, sometimes we meditate and sometimes it’s a little bit of all three. A workday workout doesn’t simply mean getting up from our desk and walking to the end of the street — although there’s almost always a small group who chooses to do so regardless of the weather.
A weekday workout means so much more than walking, especially during the dog days of summer or the dead of winter when it’s too hot or too cold for many people to want to be outside. Larger offices can walk up and down stairs and do laps in the hallways but smaller spaces like ours can take advantage of other activities, such as:

  • Bringing in a yoga or Pilates instructor to lead a session.
  • Setting up circuit training in the office.
  • Relaxing with peaceful meditation.
  • Dancing to YouTube videos.
  • Holding chair races (you really have to see this one, it’s hysterical).

Weekday workouts make good business sense

The problem with the ‘we’re too busy’ mindset is that the workplace is where many of us spend a good chunk of our lives. In some cases, we spend more time at work with colleagues than we do at home with our families. And if we’re too busy to exercise at work and we don’t have time to workout when we’re at home, when are we supposed to fit it into our day?

Since time is precious, employees hugely value the fact that, as an employer, you’re giving employees the time to check off that exercise box during the workday. Your most important assets are your employees. You need them to not only enjoy their work environment but to also bring the best of themselves to work every single day.

So, how do you get started with a Tracksuit Tuesday concept in your office? All it takes is one person to spearhead the initiative and regularly plan the activity in the company calendar. (Need help? Just ask!) It doesn’t need to be Tuesdays — think Wellness Wednesdays, Fit Fridays or Motivation Mondays. Whatever day you choose, it’s a clear win-win in terms of employee health, company morale and business productivity.

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