I have to tell you - I LOVE this idea.
The more productive employees a company has - the more gets done, the more money they can make allowing for a larger bottom line - period!
We all know how exercise can improve our quality of life - from our weight, our metabolism, our moods, our energy levels, our sex lives, our quality of sleep and more.
What do you guys think of this?
How is your own job? Is it killing you?
According to death statistics from 2011 compiled by the CDC, the top three killers in the United States are heart disease, cancer and chronic lower respiratory diseases like emphysema. Collectively these diseases killed 1,316,211 Americans that year.
Far too many of these deaths were preventable. It’s no secret that regular exercise and a good diet can dramatically reduce rates of heart disease. Nonetheless, nearly 80 percent of American adults don’t get the recommended amount of exercise each week (2.5 hours of moderate aerobic activity or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous activity).
Given how critical fitness is to overall health, it’s worth taking a look at exercise in the one place where nearly all of us will spend a good chunk of our lives: the workplace.
A lot of companies do encourage exercise - before, during and after working hours. A lot of companies have workout facilities right on-site. Some even form groups - for yoga, for running, softball, basketball, etc. and many participate before or after work or during their lunch breaks.
But, when it comes to promoting fitness on the job, dedicated facilities and organized teams like these are hardly necessities. Having the right workplace culture is far more important. Back in the day, there was a small start-up company that started to promote fitness on the job!
They had cramped startup offices on the industrial side of town, and couldn’t afford a gym (in fact, we couldn’t even afford phones). But they did hang a fingerboard on the wall for pull-ups. They brought in yoga balls for chairs. They encouraged employees to bike to work, even though that meant cramming office entryway full of bikes because it was too sketchy to park outside. And it was made clear that anyone could block off an hour for exercise during the day, provided it didn’t conflict with meetings and they made up the time (by having lunch at their desks, for instance).
I’m picturing old-school managers out there rolling their eyes. The manager’s job, after all, is to get results out of employees, not keep them fit. But even on a ruthlessly practical level, allowing and encouraging employees to exercise at work makes good sense. Employees return from workouts refreshed and better focused on their jobs. Time lost on exercise is made back and more in terms of improved productivity. There’s some research to back this up. A study presented to the American College of Sports Medicine, for instance, found that workers who spent 30–60 minutes at lunch exercising reported an average performance boost of 15 percent. Sixty percent of employees said their time management skills, mental performance and ability to meet deadlines improved on the days they exercised. Workers in the study were less likely to suffer from post-lunch energy dips after exercising and also reported improvements in mood.
Then there are the longer-term benefits to keep in mind. Healthy, active employees take fewer sick days and bring more energy to the workplace. A 2011 study published in the Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine showed that incorporating just 2.5 hours of exercise per week into the workday led to a noticeable reduction in absences. Perhaps most importantly, fit and healthy workers are less prone to exactly the kinds of preventable, debilitating illnesses that take such a heavy toll on families and on society.
At the end of the day, however, it’s not the type of exercise that matters so much as providing a space in the workplace where fitness can thrive. There’s a saying that couples who sweat together stay together.What about companies that sweat together stay together? Over the years, the culture of fitness in that little start-up has grown with the enthusiasm of new employees and taken on a life of its own. That little start-up now has offices all over the world, and the founder attributes much of its fast growth to having fit and productive employees. Today, their staff include ultramarathoners who run 50 miles at a stretch, elite cyclists and triathletes, personal trainers, avid rowers and sailors, yogis and hardcore hikers and, of course, lots of people who just like a good workout from time to time.
Exercise in the office isn’t a new idea. But it’s such a clear win-win — in terms of health, morale and productivity — that I think it deserves to be put in the spotlight once more. Considering how pervasive heart disease and other preventable illnesses are, it’s not an exaggeration to say that our future — as healthy individuals, healthy companies and healthy societies — may depend on it.
Do any of you workout at work? Does your company encourage it?
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