The importance of health initiatives in the workplace

 

Employers who have been promoting work life balance have increasingly been viewing it within the broader prism of wellbeing. Health and wellbeing policies link physical and mental health. Here Nelson McConnell, director of Fox Agency, talks about how his agency has changed its culture and fitness trainer Danny Sroda discusses the focus on importance of health and fitness at work.

Eighteen months ago, we at Fox Agency, decided to do something about our health. No, not the health of our cash flow, or client satisfaction, but our actual health.

I’m sure many businesses are similar to us, back then. With plates full of cakes rather than fruit, too many bags of 2-for-1 supermarket cookies and a chocolate digestive with every cup of tea. The idea of a lunchtime run would have been scoffed at.

We made a decision to change the culture. Without forcing it, we offered personal training sessions to the full team (and even freelancers working for us) every Wednesday.

What began with just the Directors joining in, grew to the full agency taking part, every week, with half of our staff even setting up other fitness initiatives, such as the Friday run at lunch.

It is a far cry from where we were, but the proof is in the pudding (or lack of). Our team look and feel healthier, our fridges are overflowing with salad, and when there is a rare cake in the office for birthdays, there’s usually quite a bit left!

Our personal trainer, the lead trainer at Reach Fitness for Business, Danny Sroda, has been looking into the effects of health in the workplace, and how initiatives such as ours can help with employee satisfaction and wellbeing. So I’ll let Danny take it from here…

Corporate Fitness is becoming increasingly essential to business, with employers realising that workers who are fit are more productive, more motivated and take less sick time.

The figures back this up. NHS Chief, Simon Stevens, announced recently that illness prevention is an ‘economic imperative’ since British workers cost the economy £32 billion in sick days last year. He put the blame on companies, who could do more to help prevent health problems, while at the same time, safeguard themselves against the problem of absenteeism.

It is my belief, too, that employees will respond better to companies who show that they care about them. Of course, bonuses and away days can help with this, but it is a whole different level of ‘caring’ when a company says they will actively help in the employee’s healthcare.

We have seen this with Fox Agency. They create the time for their staff to join in with the PT sessions (and it is worth remembering the biggest excuse for not exercising is the supposed lack of time). From the conversations I have with the Fox team, it has had a great knock-on effect too, with more exercise at home, with the kids, and a better diet.

So, even beyond the benefits in work, which, according to Jon Andrews, HR consulting lead at PwC, include increased performance, cost savings, discovering latent talent and attracting new talent, a health initiative in the workplace can even help those beyond the office walls.

What Fox Agency are doing is great, and it proves health initiatives at work aren’t just for companies with offices in California. The benefits are huge, whether you are the employee or owner. So make the first step today, and propose the initiative to your boss, or your staff. Good luck, and have fun.





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