While there is no doubt that the main purpose of work is to do exactly that – work and provide one’s employer and customers with valuable products – it is also quite evident that individuals who are relaxed, healthy and happy seem to do far better at work than their stressed-out counterparts.
Work is actually the second most common source of stress, and one recent survey indicated that forty-two percent of respondents left their job primarily because of the stressful work environment they found there. This means that cultivating a workplace environment that allows employees to feel relaxed, comfortable, happy and healthy can actually contribute to the company’s overall viability and stability, as some companies have already experienced.
Incorporating Fitness Into the Work Day
Fitness and exercise are vitally important to an individual’s good physical and mental health. When an individual exercises, their body releases endorphins, which can reduce their perception of pain and trigger a positive feeling. Regular exercise has also been proven to reduce stress, ward off anxiety and feelings of depression, boost self-esteem and improve sleep. Regardless of how much an individual loves their job, it would be hard to honestly say that they never experience any feelings of stress or anxiety. It follows, then, that participating in exercise activities – even if only for five to fifteen minutes every hour or two – may very well improve one’s attitude and productivity.
Some companies already incorporate fitness options in their employees’ work days, such as:
- Kaiser Permanente, one of the nation’s largest healthcare companies, offers on-site gyms attached to many facilities. They also began the Instant Recess campaign, promoting ten-minute physical fitness breaks throughout the workday.
- EMC, a computer data storage company, offers their employees lower medical contributions if they complete certain activities that aid their overall health, like signing up for a gym membership. The company also provides on-site gyms at several locations, and even an indoor pool at their headquarters office.
- Mayo Clinic, a non-profit medical practice and medical research group, understands that individuals who are busy working and caring for their families may not have enough time to fit in a gym schedule outside of work, so they provide on-site fitness centers to their employees, allowing them to participate in midday workouts.
- Google, a huge, multinational company built around the popular search engine, is very well known for the many perks given to employees. The company headquarters – better known as the Googleplex – has four on-site gyms for employee use.
- General Mills, the company behind some of the country’s favorite cereals, encourages healthy living and lifestyle choices in a variety of ways, not the least of which is Fitness Friday – a time for employees to bond and stay fit during physically demanding games, like dodgeball.
These are just five large companies who currently incorporate fitness regimens into their employees’ work-day in some shape or form, and the benefits for both their employees and themselves are quite evident as they remain some of the most successful companies currently in operation.