How workplace fitness can improve employee productivity

No matter the size of a business, nothing affects the bottom line more than declining employee productivity.

Employees can be the best and brightest parts of an organization, but if they’re sitting sedentary at their desk for eight hours a day with no stimulation, even the sharpest minds become sluggish and productivity plummets. Left unchecked, this can decline into a downward spiral of anxiety, stress and increased sick days.

Read: Five fitness, health and wellness trends for 2019

If employees are losing their mental sharpness, employers should consider incorporating more opportunities for physical activity in the workplace. Making exercise a regular feature of the workday promotes physical activity as a healthy habit, and it also good for performance outputs.

Keeping employees physically and mentally energized is the key to sustaining positive results and improving the bottom line. To optimize effectiveness through fitness and wellness, here are some suggestions to move in the right direction.

Offer discounts on fitness memberships: For many people, joining a local gym can be cost prohibitive. One way to motivate employees is to include corporate group pricing for fitness memberships as part of an overall benefits package. Since employees have different needs, employers should try to be as flexible as possible in the types of memberships they offer. Offering choice can be very attractive, whether employees want to pump iron, try CrossFit, golf, get into yoga or take a spin class.

Read: Citigroup’s proactive approach to wellness includes onsite gym, trainer

Add standing desk stations: Sitting glued to desks most of the day eventually slows down the metabolism. An increasing number of companies are investing in standing desk stations, which employees can take their laptops to during the day. If an employer’s facility budget is robust enough, it should consider providing a computer sit-stand desktop for every employee. The ability to move during the day helps burn calories, keeps employees refreshed and can help improve and maintain good health.

Encourage more mini breaks: Employer can also include more time in the work schedule for extra mini breaks so employees can get up and be active. These breaks don’t have to be lengthy — maybe a five-minute time-out to walk around the office or a quick stroll outside. A short break can make a big difference. And organizations should also encourage managers to walk the talk by taking breaks and motivating their teams to get up and move.

Hold mobile meetings: It can be a drain on the brain and body to have meetings in conference rooms under fluorescent lighting. Why not hold meetings on the go? Making meetings mobile is a great way to get some exercise and is also an excellent way to stimulate ideas. Another option is to encourage people to stand or stretch during meetings. Sit-stand conference tables are popping up in workplaces all over the country. Being able to “think on your feet” is a great way for employees to keep the creative juices flowing and come up with novel ways to solve current work and productivity issues.

Read: Wellness tips for motivating apathetic employees

Make physical activities part of team building: We all know team building is essential to creating a cohesive unit that works together efficiently and cooperatively. Employers can try incorporating fun activities such as badminton, softball or company-wide challenges. Another option is to encourage (and sponsor?) employee participation in sports leagues outside the office to demonstrate a commitment to physical activity.

Encouraging physical activity in the workplace is essential to maintaining optimal productivity. Successful and enduring companies find ways to support and motivate their employees to exercise. By incorporating physical activity into the workplace, employees can reach personal and corporate goals while maintaining their physical and mental edge.