Why Booming Businesses Are Building Biceps

Alex Maclachlan explores the reasons why successful businesses are investing in employee fitness programs…

Earning and Burning

Exercising at work isn’t a new idea. Many successful companies, such as Zappos and GSK, have become known for investing in employee exercise opportunities; with onsite gyms and fitness classes. Tech giant Google, one of the world’s most desired employers, is often viewed as the top dog on the ‘healthy workplace leaderboard’. But now smaller businesses and startups are getting involved, offering a range of different classes and clubs, some funded by the company and some run by volunteers.

Expert Market offers its employees a range of exercise classes on the house. From up-tempo boxing and PT sessions, to mindfulness relaxation and yoga, there is something for everyone.

We spoke to Expert Market’s personal trainers, MobFit, to understand why more and more companies are offering sport and exercise at work and what the top benefits are, for the individual and for the company.

The Fitness Revolution

Mobfit are fully aware of the change in attitude towards health and fitness in the workplace. They believe that we are in the midst of a fitness revolution, with new classes, gyms and clubs popping up everywhere, and companies increasingly integrating with them.

“If companies are able to provide on-site health and fitness classes as an extra bonus for employees it not only says ‘we care’, it creates a great culture within the company” says Mobfit co-founder Mark.

A healthy company culture is essential for engaging employees, as well as attracting the best and brightest new talent.

mobfit work out with mvf

Mobfit working with our team at Expert Market UK and parent company MVF, during a lunchtime session. Source: www.instagram.com/mobfit.uk

De-Siloing; so hot right now

As companies grow and departments end up compartmentalised it has never been more important to build and nurture cross team relationships. This is somewhere fitness and sport can play a big part.

Mobfit understands the massive value exercising together can have for growing companies.

“It gives participants a chance to get to know each other away from the office, and the opportunity to form relationships outside of their workplace team or division. This often results in better interaction inside the office” Mark comments.

Employees attending Mobfit’s classes are at different fitness levels but often participate in exercise as pairs. This encourages skills like patience, encouragement and teamwork, which not only helps them in the session but translates into a work environment.

We know that blowing off some steam (and sweat) together a couple of times a week has been successful in creating a happier and more productive workforce at Expert Market, so it’s easy to understand why companies all over the UK are joining the sport revolution.

Healthy Body → Healthy Mind → Healthy Business

From the mood-boosting endorphins to opportunities for team bonding, it’s easy to understand the softer perks of workplace exercise. However, this alone may not be enough for some business owners to justify the investment of paying for such activities.

Fortunately the trend for workplace fitness has not only proven beneficial for employee wellbeing and cultural reasons; it has been shown to boost results back in the office too.

The American College of Sports Medicine found that workers who spent 30–60 minutes at lunch exercising reported an average performance boost of 15%. 60% of these employees also reported improvements in time management skills, mental performance and ability to meet deadlines, on the days they exercised.

A study of over 200 employees, run by professors at the University of Bristol and Leeds Metropolitan University, also found that 89% of participants showed improvements in their work performance when they participated in exercise during work hours.

These statistics demonstrate the business sense of offering fitness and sport to your workforce. What could a 15% boost in performance look like company wide?

Author Anecdotes

As a relatively sporty individual, joining a company offering such a wide selection of physical activities was an attractive prospect when comparing potential workplaces. Breaking up the day with a bout of heart pumping activity has proved invaluable for my concentration levels; coming back to the office with a new lease on the day, almost as if coming in for the first time.

Thinking about the social benefits of exercise at work, I can confidently say I’ve built many new workplace relationships and strengthened old ones through interaction during sport. Whether it was thrashing my manager at badminton or receiving shouts of encouragement from a colleague in the tech department, these are bonds built on sweat and mutual appreciation for things technically outside the workplace, but still within the working day.

So There We Have It

Empirical evidence, hard facts, and anecdotes about the new “age of exercise” in the midst of a “fitness revolution”. The workplace is officially changing; employers are waking up to the benefits of keeping their staff active and engaged, in and out of the office.

MobFit are a London based health & fitness company, specialising in providing corporate fitness & well-being packages to companies across the capital.