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In today’s “always on” culture, employees are stressed, burned out and disengaged.

offering-wellness-benefits-With mental, financial and physical issues to contend with, exercise is most likely in the “wish I could find the time” category.

And there’s data to back this up. Recent stats gathered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services show that only 1/3 adults achieve the recommended amount of physical activity each week, and more than 80% of adults don’t meet the guideline for cardio and muscle-strengthening activities.

It’s not a new idea that exercise can help reverse and prevent mental and physical ailments, but many workplaces are upping the ante in their benefits offerings to try and address growing workplace issues.

In fact, many companies are making it easier for employees to exercise by providing gym memberships, on-site exercise facilities and group classes. Some even pay employees to exercise.

These initiatives illustrate how the trend of improving the overall health and well-being of employees is top of mind for many. Offering well-being perks can greatly improve your employees’ mental and physical health.

  1. Stress relief. Stress rates are through the roof, with many doctors calling stress the Black Plague of our century. Recently, Harvard researchers estimated that 80% of doctors' visits are related to stress. Stressed out employees have trouble focusing, thinking clearly and making rational decisions. Studies illustrate that exercise reduces the body’s stress hormone and releases endorphins that help improve mood. By providing employees easy access to exercise facilities, you can help reduce stress and improve employees’ state of mind.
  2. Heart health. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. And it’s costing a lot of money — $555 billion in 2016. By providing employees well-being perks, you can help them reduce their risk of a heart-related issue.
  3. Productivity. A study from Harvard showed that regular exercise helps boost creativity, learning, memory and concentration. Additionally, a study from Leeds Metropolitan University found workers who visited the gym during working hours were more productive, managed their time better and felt more satisfied at work.

With so many obvious benefits, it’s important for HR professionals to think about offering well-being benefits or, if they already do, to properly and frequently communicate these benefits to employees.

And it doesn’t stop there.

In order for employees to feel comfortable taking advantage of and actually using these benefits, leaders should think about how they’re creating a workplace culture that supports employee well-being. Flexibility and letting employees know it’s ok to take a 30-minute gym break during lunch can help increase benefit utilization. Even if you don’t have an onsite gym, leaders can encourage their employees to take walking breaks, encourage walking meetings and even do group workouts together off-site to improve teamwork and morale.

There are so many ways organizations can help support employees’ well-being. By being mindful of creating a workplace culture that supports health and providing many different options employees can use to improve their well-being, organizations can help reverse and improve mental and physical issues may be hindering performance.

Start today! Check out my video about cardio vs strength workouts and share it with your employees. It explains the benefits of both and how you can encourage your employees to work smarter, not harder in the gym for better results.  

HubSpot Video


If you want to learn more about how employees are feeling at work and how to help, check out our e-book below. 

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View all Posts by Tracey Orman