16 Oct What Is Corporate Fitness?
What is corporate fitness?
Corporate fitness is an essential part of any workplace wellness program that is designed to support healthy behaviour and promote physical activity in the workplace to improve overall health of the employees.
We define corporate fitness as individual or group activity session led by a qualified fitness trainer designed exclusively for an individual or group of colleagues. Our sessions are tailormade to the need and culture of each business. The sessions are delivered in house or outdoors utilising local parks or green spaces. We consider fitness as a lifestyle change/habit , where one decides to lead a healthier and more fulfilled life. Therefore sessions are held on weekly basis to help employees along their fitness journey and path to a healthier lifestyle.
We consider health risks posed by physical inactivity during long working hours to be at levels comparable to the risk factors involved in smoking and alcohol use. inactivity is not only causing back, neck and muscular strain problems, it is also the main cause of common long-term diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and many forms of cancer. Therefore, we believe that by building physically active teams, we can eliminate many of the risk factors .
This also means that while there are health benefits from the sessions to the individual, there are financial benefits to the business. In this book, we will take a closer look and examine those benefits.
Today Organisations recognise the importance of the physical well-being of workers and many employers encourage corporate fitness knowing that it can have direct impact on cost savings for the business.
Corporate Fitness – Who is it for?
Corporate fitness is for businesses and organisations of all shapes and sizes that prioritise employee health and wellness and incorporate it as an integral part of doing business. Initially these programs were given as perks and benefits to employees, however we now see more and more involvement of senior manager and partners within the organisation.
We work with many organisations, like Man City management team, Harrods Security and renowned LSE staff and it is encouraging to see how the senior and junior staff come together at a session and share an hour of fun and laughter while working up a sweat.
There are different ways an employer can encourage their employees to participate in fitness sessions. Depending on budget, these could include an onsite gym with personal training sessions, subsidised local gym membership and when possible bikes-to-work scheme.
While all of these initiatives can encourage employees to improve their fitness, they might not be broadly desired. These types of fitness initiatives only engage about 10% to 20% of employees who are already into fitness. They might not reach the ones that would really benefit from improving their health through fitness.
However,we believe that there are ways to reach out to employees who do not see themselves as gym bunnies. Ideally employees should go through a health check, to identify problems, injuries and desired outcomes, then a suitable collective programme can be designed specifically for them. This causes better employee engagement and keeps them motivated.
When colleagues train together, they form a special bond, they encourage and support one another in a non-competitive environment. They share laughter and fun. They enjoy an hour of quality time at the fitness training session.
Highly qualified fitness instructors should design tailor-made physical activities where participants work towards common goals. This strengthens their collaboration and sense of belonging while working up a good sweat. By putting the fun element into exercise, individuals are more likely to participate.
With today’s technology at hand, it easy to offer something simple that can become a habit. Employees can be encouraged to take small steps towards their fitness every day, like taking the stairs as suppose to the lift and when logging it on their activity tracker, they will start seeing small improvements.
Set Challenges To Encourage Participation In Corporate Fitness Programs
Other approaches could include a collective weight-loss challenge, supplemented with nutritional advise and exercise routines while tracking their activity and progress. A healthy dose of competition encourages more activity. Signing up for marathon runs or charity fundraising activities encourages people to act and start their fitness journey. We focus on motivating employees to take that first difficult step and change behaviour. Often those who took part in the activity will continue to be active after the event and utilise the resources available at the workplace.
Keepfit Bootcamps Ensure Group & Individual Safety At Every Level
It is also important to be mindful of safety issues around fitness initiatives. It is essential for employees to know how to exercise safely especially when there is equipment, for instance in a gym. Therefore qualified instructors must be employed to demonstrate and supervise all activities to minimise potential injury risks.
Group session led trainers must be able to work will all levels of fitness within the group. They need to ensure that everyone is involved, carrying out the activity correctly and be able to offer different levels of intensity to each activity.
Benefits of corporate fitness sessions
Google was one the first companies that applied a unique approach to employee satisfaction. Their philosophy was that they had to “come out of an age of monochrome cubicles and monotonous workdays and make their office a place people wanted to work”. By offering this unique approach they would attract talents. Following their success many companies has tried to apply the same principles.
Work can get tedious, repetitive and boring. Those long hours in the office can drain team morale and affect productivity. Therefore, it is important to bring in fun activities that takes one away from the daily chorus and the office environment. One approach is to incorporate physical activities like group exercise sessions.
At keepfit Bootcamp we love the outdoor exercises and our motto is that of; come rain or shine we keep fit. There are several benefits to outdoor exercising. Fresh air helps cleaning your lungs. The lung airways get dilated and when you breathe out you release airborne toxins from your body. This results in a sharper mind and an energised body. This combined with the brain chemicals released through exercise will lift the individual’s mood and that of the group as a whole.
Corporate Fitness and the The Great Outdoors
Additionally, activities feel easier to complete when undertaken outdoors, and this is perceived as a lower need for effort. However contrary to this perception you end up pushing yourself harder and work up a sweat while enjoying yourself.
Nature and green environment will also bring feelings of revitalisation, and makes you feel more positively engaged. After all, most of us spend long hours indoors in offices and other confined spaces, so changing our environment and getting some fresh air is essential.
Corporate fitness & Well-Being Leads To Increased Productivity
Engaging in corporate fitness activities and adopting healthy eating habits increases employee productivity and enhances performance. Your brain will produce chemicals and happy hormones that help you keep sustained attention and focus better on tasks. As a result, you’ll finish work as energy levels rise and you feel satisfaction from your accomplishment.
Numerous studies measuring people’s work performance show a significant improvement taking place on the days people exercise.
When we exercise many bodily mechanisms are set in motion, insulin is better regulated, and our bodies cope better with physical stress.
Exercising also promotes production of brain hormones such as serotonin, dopamine and endorphins and acts as a mental booster that alleviates symptoms of depression and anxiety. additionally, it is the most efficient stress reliever. In other words, exercise makes you happier.
Corporate Group fitness will get you connected not only with your company but also your colleagues. You’ll start to form relationships that haven’t been available to you before as the fitness sessions engage all members of the company. Different departments come together and during the session the hierarchy diminishes, and everyone enjoy and benefit from the shared experience so your social health thrives.
Reduced Healthcare Costs and Absenteeism
Employee wellness programs also exist to help reduce healthcare costs and evidence support that these programmes improve employee health by reducing elevated health risks, and bringing down as these are directly related to unhealthy lifestyle choices such as smoking, inactivity and common diseases.
The chart below shows annual healthcare cost due to unhealthy behaviour.
Although inactivity is not topping the chart, it is the underlying factor for the two major ones: Obesity and Diabetes. Therefore wellness programmes that focus on physical activity and fitness sessions will be more valuable in reducing employee healthcare costs.
When people start adopting healthy lifestyle behaviour, they are more likely to quit smoking. Exercise can also help take away the nicotine urge. It turns out that the feel-good sensations triggered by exercise are similar to those from nicotine, and could help replace your cigarette cravings. Studies of the brain scans show increased activation in the area of the brain associated with reward and motivation — the same area thought to be responsible for the feel-good effects of nicotine and other addictive drugs. Reward and motivations are major part of fitness.
So it is safe to say that fitness and physical activity can also contribute to lowering the healthcare costs associated with smoking.
Sickness absence costs UK businesses an estimated £29 billion with an average number of 6.3 days per year. The most common top five causes for long-term absenteeism are stress, acute medical conditions, mental ill health, musculoskeletal injuries and back pain. Regular exercise may not protect us from catching the flu but reduces our proneness to all these illnesses.
Corporate Fitness & Well-Being Helps with Mental Health Illnesses
Physical activity is undeniably one of the most effective ways to improve your mental health. It is the most potent antidepressant. Regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on low self-esteem, anxiety, ADHD, and more. It is also a great stress reliever, improves memory, helps us sleep better, and boosts our overall mood.
In a recent report the British government revealed that around 300,000 people with long-term mental health conditions lose their job in the UK each year. This report also suggests that around 15% of us have mental health worries at any one time and 41% of employees have experienced symptoms of mental illness at work.
However majority of employees do not talk about their mental health problems, as it still is a taboo and they believe that it doesn’t affect their work. Employers on the other hand bear a responsibility toward recognising and supporting employees at risk or those suffering. Therefore, we believe that although it’s an great idea investing in the installation of gym facilities on site, or giving subsidised memberships to the local gym or equip employees with fitness trackers to monitor activity levels it is simply not enough. If we take our focus away from individual responsibility and consider a collective responsibility toward employee wellness, we realise that we need to form better bonds and trusts within teams.
Loneliness, a common emerging problem, is not only bad for our minds, it’s bad for our health too. For many people, the only source of connection with others is through work.
Research suggest that chronic long-term loneliness can be as bad for our health as smoking fifteen cigarettes a day. It might be hard to imagine loneliness at work as we are surrounded by people all day but with technology replacing human interaction, heavier workloads and the popularity of working from home, people are not really working together and are losing moments of shared connection with co-workers. Consequently we might be heading towards an emerging epidemic of loneliness at work as well as at home.
Group corporate fitness sessions aim to tackle some of the above issues ; by increasing the bond and connection between colleagues , creating a sense of camaraderie with co-workers to feel supported and have a sense of belonging. But most importantly to create a trust to be able to open up when needed, or to recognise ,discuss and support mental health problems by seeking help.
Staff Retention Becomes Easier When Employees Are Happy & Healthy
Employees are the most valuable assets to any company and their welfare has a direct impact on the success of the company.
When they are happy, they are productive.
Corporate fitness not only helps the workforce getting healthier it might also aid weight loss, help lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, improving sleep, and save money on medication. Plus it will create more energy and vigor with individuals so they can pass it on to family and friends and create quality leisure times.
Also fitness sessions as a part of a holistic employee wellness package will make working for your company attractive and competitive.
With generational changes, today’s employees expect their company to promote physical well-being as part of their employee wellness programs. Many workers perceive human resource managers as guardians who protect their interests and overall well-being.
Reports show that by 2020 millennials will make up a third of the global workforce.
They are an extremely hard-working generation that don’t mind putting in extra hours. However, when choosing the right job, they will be asking themselves, “Is it the right fit?” “Will I be happy here?” “How will they help me grow personally and professionally?”
As millennials prioritize happiness over pay when evaluating a job, a culture of wellness that focuses on not only physical well-being but also on mental and emotional health is emerging.