Up for the challenge?

By Carl Konadu, Bridging the Gap - Project Co-ordinator at Sported

Carl KonaduResearch suggests that exercise makes people happier, healthier and more productive; hence there has recently been a great wave of initiatives to help get workforces more active. Employers have a big role to play in getting and keeping their teams active and the benefits are great for the organisation as well as for the employees personal lives’, a win – win situation.

 

Although there are many different ways of approaching increased activity in the workplace, below I have highlighted some of the more common and fun ways to do it

 

Create team challenges

At Sported we are in the second year of our #sported52 challenge. The aim of Sported 52 is for the team as a whole to do a total of 52 challenges in 52 weeks (by the end of the year) – a target that was reached last year when we piloted the project. This year, although the challenge is still called #sported52, we’re secretly working towards beating that figure again, who knows, maybe we’ll double it… #sported104! This has been a great way to encourage colleagues to be more active, step out of their comfort zones and do something fun or something they have never done before. The key thing is that anyone can take part, no matter your fitness level. At Sported our challenges have ranged from Iron Mans and Tough Mudders to hill walking and dance challenges, as long as it gets you moving then it’s a start!

 

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Team Challenges have the capacity to:

 

-Make colleagues fitter and healthier, which is scientifically proven to reduce sick days for the organisation.

 

-Improve team morale.

 

-Make individuals happier to work for your organisation.

 

-Give teams a sense of ownership – it’s been a great opportunity to personally support others in thinking of creative ways they can be more active and improve their fitness levels whilst having fun.

 

-Tap into people’s competitive streaks!

 

Promoting walking and cycling to work

The commute to work is also a great way to encourage your team to be more active. With our lives getting busier and busier and many people finding it harder to factor exercise into their daily routines, walking or cycling to work is a great way to create a ‘lifestyle exercise’. This simply means you can add it to your daily routine without making too many changes to your usual schedule. It’s also a great way to kick start your day, get some fresh air, accomplish something before you’ve even got into work and take in some of the beautiful scenery your route has to offer.

 

There are multiple initiatives and schemes out there to help employers and employees:

Walk – It

 

Paths for All

 

Cycle Scheme

 

Cycle 2 Work

 

Promoting healthy eating

Poor nutrition is connected to a lot of the conditions that develop as a result of bad lifestyles. Therefore, getting employees eating healthier can be seen in the same light as getting employers more active, there are benefits for the employer and the employee. Some simple steps that can be taken to promote healthier eating at work are:

 

-Have team lunch days (a great way to invite and encourage employees to try new foods).

 

– Keep the eating/cooking area clean and tidy.

 

-Offer adequate space for packed lunches.

 

-Provide a list of nearby food places for your team, with many healthy options.

 

-Provide healthy snacks such as fruit and nuts for consumption during meetings.

 

For more information on how you can promote a healthy eating lifestyle amongst your team check out Work Well’s ‘Promoting healthy eating at work’ guide.

 

There are many more ways to get your team more active, I have just highlighted a few. Alongside this, there is great support out there for employers and employees that want to get their workforce more active. For example the National Workplace Challenge is great way to join a community of people promoting and taking action towards a more active workforce. Find out more here: http://www.workplacechallenge.org.uk/manifesto

 

There is also the Mayor of London’s London Healthy workplace Charter which is ‘a self-assessment framework that recognises and rewards employers for investing in workplace health and well-being’. It provides a series of standards for workplaces to meet in order to guide them to creating a health-enhancing workplace – (London Assembly), for more information see here.

 

Good luck getting active!