As America's obesity problem continues to receive more and more attention, companies are discovering the many benefits of promoting fitness in the workplace. Fit employees make for healthy employees who take fewer sick days, require less health care coverage and become more productive at work. Workplace fitness doesn't have to be costly or take away from employees' work time; there are many simple ways in which companies can encourage their workers to get fitter and healthier.
On-Site Activities and Programs
Many individuals want to lose weight and get fit, but finding the time to exercise is one of the biggest obstacles that working Americans face when trying to get in shape. An on-site fitness center offers employees convenient access to fitness equipment that they can use before or after work or during the lunch hour. If the building is located on a large piece of land, adding biking and walking paths can go a long way toward encouraging employees to stay active during the workday. Companies can also host Weight Watchers meetings and fitness seminars for employees or invite guest speakers to lecture about fitness and nutrition.
Discounts and Incentives
Even if a company can't offer its employees direct access to a fitness center, a popular alternative method of promoting workplace fitness is offering discounted gym memberships. Many gyms offer corporate discounts, and it's not difficult to compare their rates and programs. In addition to the discounted rate, companies can offer further incentives for workers who go to the gym, such as lower rates for health insurance.
Fitness Groups and Buddies
Working out with another person is a great way to get motivated and stay accountable for exercise, and the office is a perfect place to find that workout buddy. Employees looking for a partner can post their fitness goals and plans on a bulletin board, where others can browse through the information to find a buddy who shares the same goals. If numerous employees are interested, they can organize a group that meets daily to walk, jog or hit the gym.
Distribution of Information
One of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to promote fitness at work is to distribute booklets and information packets about exercise and nutrition. Many people don't know how to get started on a weight-loss program, and this basic information can provide them with the knowledge they need to start getting in shape.
Weekend and After-Hours Activities
While most employees can't wait to leave work at the end of the day, companies can encourage workers to stay fit by making off-hours get-togethers fun. Organizing an intramural softball or basketball team that meets weekly to play other teams, or hosting monthly picnics, where employees can bring their families to enjoy outdoor games and sports, are two options for company managers to consider.