Turn your workplace into an active one
Employers have a huge amount to gain from having a physically active workforce, including lower rates of sickness absence, fewer retirements on health grounds and more productive teams.
The Department of Health’s Public Health Responsibility Deal Physical Activity Network has brought together 293 employers who have made a pledge to promote physical activity to their staff. The commitments range from workplace physical activity challenges, providing on-site fitness classes to appointing workplace fitness champions. For example, one large employer has already recorded an increase in the proportion of staff meeting the UK physical activity guidelines.
How can your workplace get involved?
Public Health England (PHE) is developing a national framework for the Workplace Wellbeing Charter, a locally delivered award system to encourage employers to create a health enhancing workplace. The Charter supports the delivery of Public Health Responsibility Deal pledges at an individual business level, promoting specific evidence based action on a range of issues including physical activity. This builds on local Charters that are successfully in place in Liverpool, London, the North East and Manchester to create a coherent national approach that supports small, medium and large businesses to take action.
Ways in which employers can promote staff physical activity include:
• Negotiating discount schemes to incentivise physical activity eg the cycle to work scheme
• Promoting and enabling attendance at classes and activities; signposting opportunities for physical activity, such as using the stairs and walking between campuses
• Providing cycle parking facilities; shower/changing facilities
• Publicising the approved mileage for using cycles for business travel, and making it easier for employees to reclaim cycle hire costs used for business travel
• Encouraging team-based exercise-based activities – an element of friendly competition (without compulsion) within and between teams can have great results in terms of increased activity and improved team working.