Despite temperatures rising in the UK, the blues seem yet to disappear and prominent strains on employee wellbeing remain in place.
A good way to help boost morale and mental health is exercise. A recent survey from Public Health England revealed eight in ten adults want to change their lifestyle in 2021 and 41% want to exercise more. The responsibility for physical wellbeing is often put on the individual, but I would argue employers should take greater steps to support health and fitness. By motivating workers to beat the winter blues, they will be in a stronger position to be well and do well at work.
With gyms closed and community sports cancelled, there are few options for employees to work regular exercise into their routines. It can be tricky to know where to begin with boosting fitness during a lockdown, but there are things companies can do to lift the workforce out of the winter lull.
Ask your teams
Finding out exactly what your teams want for their physical wellbeing and fitness schemes is a great place to start. You can run an anonymous internal survey to learn what kind of schemes they want and the access they have already. Use this information to encourage fitness programmes that are tailored to your employees or workplace. Schemes can range from offering employee discounts for home gym equipment or nutrition plans.
While many of us might be tired of Teams, video calls have become a fundamental part of work-from-home life. Instead of logging on to your next meeting at your dining table, try taking the call outside. A much-needed change of scenery can help boost both mental and physical stimulation. By making the most of our mobile devices we can hold video calls on the go, boosting mental wellbeing as well as our step count.
Online fitness classes
Due to lockdown, a big obstacle to physical wellbeing is only being able to work out at home or outdoors without social contact. One big development last year was that online fitness classes are now offered more widely, often at a lower cost or even for free. Company deals are also available, so you can easily provide this option for employees. This allows employees to choose their fitness around their schedule and have an instructor to show them what to do. This kind of flexible class can be perfect for boosting employee’s collective motivation. It can be fun too!
Do a sponsorship challenge
Another way to encourage physical wellbeing and community within your teams is by organising a group challenge for charity. Employers can set a target of 1,000 miles walked in one month. The team can log their daily walks with the team to reach their target. There can be prizes for hitting the target or a price per mile given to a charity. These schemes are simple to introduce and bring the whole team together for a common goal.
As we all know, food and fitness go hand in hand to give us a boost. Though everyone is getting a bit fed up with video calls, introducing an activity into these calls is a great way to get people more involved and learn something new. A healthy cooking class or challenge can be organised by a third-party provider.
Keep it low pressure
While eating well and keeping moving is important, there can sometimes be too much pressure to do it all in the new year. No one should be shamed for making the decision to rest up and stay in the warm. These things are also incredibly important for staying well during the winter months.
Prioritising physical health will create a happier, healthier team that are able to do well at work. Alongside social, financial and mental wellbeing, physical wellness impacts employee outlook and productivity. Let's look after one another and best those winter blues!
Article published in HRZONE on 23rd February 2021