Adults of working age in England spend an average of 9.5 hours per day sitting down. This is exacerbated if the working environment is an office, involves driving for long periods, or any other setting that limits physical exertion. For those in roles where the opportunity to be active is limited, the risk of being unhappy, demotivated and having higher levels of stress at work is high. This is where businesses have the power to change the lives of at risk employees by providing opportunities for exercise during the working day.
Making fitness work at work
We all know the benefits of leading an active lifestyle, but often a combination of work, family and social commitments means many find it difficult to make the time for exercise. However, people who are physically fit not only tend to be healthier and happier but also less stressed too. To combat this, offering opportunities to be active during the working day is an ideal way of making time for exercise as a regular routine.
For Travis Perkins employees based at its Northampton head office the benefits of an exercise programme that could fit within the working day, foster teamwork, and boost morale were identified as a priority. While healthcare is offered as a voluntary benefit for some roles, workplace exercise could limit time spent away from work due to sickness as well as make the working day more enjoyable.
By joining forces with British Military Fitness (BMF), one of the UK’s biggest providers of outdoor fitness classes, to introduce lunchtime workout sessions at Travis Perkins' head office the business has helped staff balance the need for exercise. Now employees can feel good about themselves at work by knowing that the BMF session has helped incorporate the NHS’s recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week.
It is important that businesses create working environments that are not only safe and suitable for the job in question, but also add value and ensure that employees feel inspired and looked after. This can make all the difference when retaining and attracting new staff. It’s important to recognise this and know that while workplace stress and illness can’t always be avoided, addressing the risks and taking action is vital.
To date 120 dedicated BMF lunchtime sessions with Travis Perkins, and one of our other group brands Wickes, have taken place over the last 12 months; that’s the same as burning up to 96,000 calories per person... which is the equivalent of 308 100g portions of fries.
Carol Kavanagh is group HR director at Travis Perkins