Having spent over a decade running my own business, and 10 years before that working in my father’s business, I have witnessed first-hand the benefits of healthier workplaces. The kinds of workplaces that have their own gyms or run monthly fitness challenges. Or the businesses that offer memberships to health and fitness centres as part of an employee benefits scheme.

While not every company does this, a large number do, and if you ask me, they don’t just do it for their employees, but for themselves too. At Safetyline Jalousie, our 2,000 square meter factory floor becomes an employee playground at lunchtime, with the team playing a daily basketball game or ping-pong tournament.

Interested in the effect health and fitness has on employees’ performance, I recently came across an article in Forbes on the topic of ‘healthy workplaces’. The article said that creating a culture of wellness should be done from a holistic approach, and encompass more than just a tokenistic, once yearly fitness challenge for instance.

The article suggests that creating this type of culture means “implementing ways for employees to be healthier at the workplace and helping them create healthy habits in both their personal and professional lives”.

This is something that we’ve been able to achieve through our “factory floor playground” and it’s certainly something that brings my team great joy and fulfilment.

The physical and mental benefits of investing in your employees’ health

Anyone interested in the health and fitness space would know that the release of endorphins is shown to help make us happier, healthier, smarter, and more emotionally resilient. By reducing the level of cortisol in our bodies, endorphins also act as a great natural stress reliever, letting you start the workday happier and ready to get stuck in.

For myself personally, with a hundred things running through my head, exercise is my chance to get away and be totally present in the moment. I enjoy the short-term pain that comes from physically pushing myself because I know the long-term benefits it will have.

And, guided by this knowledge, it’s a culture I try to instil in my company too.

How does this benefit employers

According to Forbes, “When employees feel their wellbeing is truly cared for and valued by their company, they will feel generally happier with their jobs and employers.”

This evidently shows that encouraging employees’ health and wellbeing benefits not only the employees but yourself as an employer too – something that I’ve noticed first-hand. In addition to creating a strong team culture (something that has always been at the heart of what we do), we continue to invest in our employees’ well-being to motivate them and get the most out of our team.

What are some key things you can implement in your organisation?

While it can be hard to step away from your desk during the day, if you make it a priority, you can find a way. This could be making a phone call while walking outside or going for a walk on your break. You could also organise a morning beach walk with your team before heading into the office, or setting a target to achieve a set amount of steps a day (possibly rewarding those who walk the most).

For business owners, or anyone in a position to help influence a company culture (which, to be honest, is anyone in a company), if you promote a culture of health and fitness you’ll be amazed by the benefits this will have on your bodies and mind … and productivity!