Working remotely will invariably have an impact on people’s physical health. However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a negative one.
Although employees’ commutes might consist of a handful of steps to the kitchen or study, the commuting time saved can be re-routed into exercise such as cycling, running or home exercise workouts. There are a number of ways employers can encourage employees to be physically active – we take a look at how employers can support the physical health of their remote workforce.
From home workout videos on Youtube to fitness tracking apps, technology can help facilitate a more active lifestyle. There are a range of exercise videos available, for every fitness level and for every interest (think yoga, pilates, Zumba, boxercise, spinning...). Larger businesses can look to create social networks, linking colleagues from across the world who share an interest in a particular sport. These shared-interest groups will enable colleagues to share inspirational content, and motivate one another along their exercise journey.
Utilising technology, employers can encourage employees to work-out remotely by setting up classes or blocking set times for employees to all complete the same video or take an extended walk at the same time. There are numerous personal trainers and exercise class companies who lead classes via video – these can easily be dialled into, wherever your employees are working. These ‘live’ events could also help instil a sense of community too, especially if attendees join on video.
Walk and talk
Businesses can also encourage employees to get out-and-about during calls. A top-down approach will help empower colleagues to take a walking call on those meetings which don’t require visual aids. Research has shown there are numerous benefits to walking meetings; they can boost creative thinking, improve focus and increase productivity.1 It’s a time-efficient way of getting some exercise whilst also improving work performance.
Employer-led challenges can help drive participation – especially if there is a financial reward involved. Challenges can work in a variety of ways. It could be that you’re setting employees personal challenges – i.e. hit 10,000 steps a day for 30 days and you’ll receive a cash prize. Or they could be community based – i.e. those who hit the most steps in 30 days receive a cash prize. Either way, incentivising exercise with a financial reward is a great way of encouraging uptake – and sets a clear message; your business believes in investing in employees’ physical health.
Many employee discount schemes have discounts for gyms, sportswear and wearable technology. However – employees may not always be aware of these. It’s worth ensuring these are appropriately categorised and signposted on your employee discount website and employees are informed about new offers, increased discounts or seasonal items – i.e. outside gear during summer, or indoor equipment in the winter months. Once an investment in exercise gear has been made, people are more likely to commit to working out.
Whatever your strategy to encourage and facilitate increased physical activity, effective communication is key at bringing it together. Not only will it help signpost employees to the right resources, it could boost engagement and cultivate a community. An ongoing strategy will help drive repeat behaviours – and once the exercise ball is rolling, for many employees it will continue for life.
Need assistance in finding the right approach for your business? Our expert team can help – get in touch with us today.
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