Boost Employee Morale: Physical Fitness Lays a Foundation for Success

A group of workers boost employee morale and productivity through stretches and physical fitness.

Does physical fitness increase employee morale and productivity? Today’s workplace environments are ideal settings for exercise motivation as more businesses recognize the important link between physical and mental health.

Previous studies (mostly focused on office workers) found that about 50% of office workers experience musculoskeletal disorders and other health-related quality-of-life diseases. As an employer, you can encourage physical activities and exercises in the workplace and surrounding community to improve your employees’ health. Ultimately, you’ll create a healthier work community. How?

On average, office workers spend 8+ hours a day at their worksite, leaving very little time for physical fitness. This can be detrimental to their overall physical and mental health. As a result, their work morale and performance are impacted, as well as the company’s overall productivity. Consider more.

Relationship Between Physical Fitness, Employee Morale and Productivity

Employers must understand the critical factors that contribute to employee absenteeism and the most effective steps (if any) to address these issues. Of particular interest to employers should be the role of promoting worksite physical activities and healthy lifestyle choices in the workplace to increase worker morale and productivity.

Research shows that employee morale is the most improved metric when businesses implement wellness programs. In fact, it’s improved by over 54%. Similarly, over 78% of workers claim they would exercise more if they had an on-site gym and walking paths they could use during work hours.

As a result, employers are using several tailored wellness and training programs for a total health approach. These often include physical exercise, nutrition, and lifestyle factors such as:

  • Motivation encouragement.
  • Diet and nutrition plan.
  • Whole body health assessments.
  • Health coaching to improve employee physical and mental well-being.
  • Personalized exercise programs at the workplace or an outdoor location.

While workplace productivity may mean making considerable investments to support and encourage work-based wellness programs, exercise increasingly continues to be portrayed to employees as the most effective process of combating workplace stress.

Poor physical health will negatively impact workplace morale and performance. Overall, the result will be substantial costs to the business through lost productive time and reduced productivity.

The Role Fitness Plays in Employee Morale and Overall Performance

This segment highlights in detail the importance of fitness as a foundation for success in the workplace:

1.     Alertness and Energy

Exercise increases blood flow to the brain and can help sharpen employee awareness to make them ready to tackle the next big project. A study by the American Council on Exercise found that a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) boosts cognitive abilities. Having more energy in the workplace means employees feel more awake and alert at work.

Simply put, employees at the top of their game perform to the best of their ability. Naturally, some projects may be more demanding and not allow time for a full cardio workout every day. In such instances, encourage employees to make minor changes to meet their daily workout goals.

2.     Optimal Physical Health

Being in the best physical health will improve overall work performance. However, it also reduces body weight and the risk for certain health conditions. Daily exercise improves cardiovascular health, giving employees the stamina they need to meet the physical workplace demands.

Regular exercise also reduces the risk of injury on the job. The Physical Activity Guidelines of Americans suggests that employees get at least 30 minutes of exercise five days a week, for optimum physical health.

3.     Improved Productivity

Harvard Business Review found the benefits of exercise aren’t just physical. Evidence shows exercise enhances employees’ mental abilities, including:

  • Sharper memory.
  • Enhanced creativity.
  • Improved concentration.
  • Quicker learning.

Exercising during working hours can pump up work performance and boost employee morale significantly. Employees who visited the gym during work hours managed their time better and experienced more work satisfaction.

4.     Emotional Benefits

Mood influences work performance, and exercise works like something of an elixir in this situation. Employees who exercise regularly before, during, or after work have reported positive effects, including lessened tempers, increased tolerance, heightened morale, relieved anxiety and repression, and a sense of calmness.

At the end of the day, employees who exercise regularly report feeling more satisfied and more productive in the workplace than those who don’t.

5.     Improved Mental Health

Improved mental health in the workplace can help curb depression and anxiety. Exercising regularly stimulates the brain to release serotonin, a brain neurotransmitter that sends messages to stimulate mood and emotion in the body. This natural chemical helps employees feel better and improve their state of mind, making handling work stresses much easier.

Stress is common in the workplace and can slow down or stall regular work schedules and projects. Regular exercise helps employees deal with stress constructively, improve relationships with co-workers, and improve overall productivity.

6.     Develop a Sense of Belonging and Contribution

By engaging in regular exercise and team sports in the workplace, employees get to explore their skills and learn to contribute as a team. Team activities highlight each individual and their role in the workplace, subsequently inspiring success.

Having a sense of belonging and contribution to team wellness programs is highly transferable to the workplace, especially among colleagues. This makes setting fitness and wellness goals in the workplace all the more important.

In Summary: Focus on Employee Morale

It’s important to consider implementing employee wellness programs to enjoy the benefits mentioned above. Allowing employees to work out during the day boosts their morale and overall productivity, contributing to the company’s bottom line.

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