Sporting Summer: Engaging staff in health and wellbeing

A fan of sport or not, it’s impossible not to get caught up in some of the world-class sporting events taking place in the summer. With all the anticipation and renewed enthusiasm around sporting events, employers can capitalise on this fever by engaging employees in health and wellbeing. The benefits of which are numerous to both employer and employee.

Challenge the norm

A regular gym goer may change their routine and try something new, if they see their colleagues meeting up for a group cycle – inspired by what they’ve seen during the Tour de France. Creating ‘to and from’ work cycle groups, can be a great way to get this kick started.

Research by Mind highlights that spending time with positive people can be a great boost to self-esteem. Group exercise provides an opportunity to do just this and businesses can support further, by organising different activities for employees to try.

It also provides the business with an opportunity to promote any health and wellbeing benefits the company offers – such as discounted gym memberships, cycle-to-work schemes or fitness apps.

Having a captive audience, already engaged in a physical activity, will help to drive the message home further – that the business actively encourages healthy lifestyles and provides support in aiding employees to achieve this.

Mental health support

The benefits of exercise are two-fold: not only does it improve physical health, but mental health as well.

Research has suggested that being physically active can reduce someone’s risk of depression by up to 30%. So, whether encouraging lunch-time walks, or organising after-work yoga classes, employers can play a crucial role in improving the mental wellbeing of their staff by helping them to get active.

Again, work-organised sporting events provides the business with the opportunity to highlight the benefits they offer to support employees. For example, businesses that offer employee assistance programmes (EAPs) can let employees know that they can access confidential advice, if they or their loved ones need impartial advice on a subject they don’t feel confident about discussing with their employer.

Research found that one in five people felt they couldn’t tell their boss if they were overly stressed at work, so an EAP can be a crucial tool in helping them to manage their mental health.

Promoting healthy

Sporting events provide an opportunity to promote healthy lifestyle choices without costing businesses extra money. Communicating the importance of eating well, drinking responsibly and the benefits of a good night’s sleep can be a great way to engage a workforce whilst giving them useful advice on managing their health more effectively.

Maximising facilities

If businesses have a sports centre nearby, hiring out courts after work is a great way to get employees active. Or a local park could be an ideal place for activities.

But for those on a business park, for example, this may not be possible. So, turning a conference room into a studio for after work yoga classes, or providing a games console that requires physical activity in the canteen during a lunch break, are also great ways of using existing facilities to support good mental and physical wellbeing.

Summer is the perfect time for businesses to engage employees in physical activity, whilst highlighting what other benefits are available to support healthy lifestyles.

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