Fun, fitness and the office | The benefits of designing a healthier work environment

Lara Conaway

by Lara Conaway

01.08.2017


One of the seven components covered by the WELL Building Standard is fitness. Designing a workplace that promotes a healthier lifestyle can greatly benefit employee wellbeing, increase productivity and improve company culture.

How to design a fitness friendly office that benefits employees wellbeing
Ready to Race! The Oktra Team took part in the Standard Charted Great City Race 2017


How to design a fitness friendly office that benefits employees’ wellbeing

A staggering 90% of our time is spent within a manmade static environment. Therefore designing an office which enables employees to engage in a more active lifestyle and educating your team on the importance of wellbeing is essential to improving overall wellness.

At Oktra we understand and recognise the importance of facilitating fitness in the office. Our teams run, cycle and sweat all year round – both in and out of the office! In the following, we will consider methods to effectively encourage fitness in your office and beyond.

In-office fitness

Failing to make time for exercise can have a destructive impact on individuals’ current and future wellbeing. According to the Guardian, in the UK 11.3 million days of work were lost in 2013-2014 due to stress, depression or anxiety – that’s an average of 23 days per person. We will focus on two main areas to consider when creating various fitness opportunities for your teams throughout their working day, and the benefits they have.

1. Active furnishing

Equipping your office with active furnishing, can significantly enhances your team’s wellness. It gives colleagues the option to choose how and where to work. For example, standing desks permits movement and a change of scenery.

Your furniture can be a key factor in influencing the way in which fitness is perceived by employees. We have a ping pong table at Oktra HQ to promote fitness and create some light-hearted competition. This also allows our teams to take a step back and socialise.

Finally, equipping your workplace with active seating can further endorse wellbeing. This can include, exercise ball chairs, or one of our personal favourites here at Oktra, the Ballo. The Ballo is an innovative take on traditional ball chairs, allowing room for flexibility and movement while sitting - and a great workout right from the comfort of your desk.

2. Structured fitness programs

Organising tailored activities in a natural and enjoyable way improves productivity levels and increases participation. During exercise our bodies release endorphins that can boost self-confidence and energy levels. Consequently, this creates more positive emotions when at work and reduces stress levels.

Hiring a personal trainer to offer healthy guided activity that all employees can partake in is another great way to encourage in-office wellness. We too have embraced this in our office, by promoting safe and convenient exercise through weekly yoga classes and Friday bootcamp.

In addition to the physical and mental benefits exercising in the workplace can have, it also demonstrates to your employees that their health and wellbeing is a priority.

Beyond the Office

Additionally to endorsing in-office fitness, we suggest supporting a healthier lifestyle that goes beyond the work environment. Encouraging your team to take part in regular sporting events such as football matches, biking or running, offers a chance for employees to mix outside of the office, and creates a great company culture.
At Oktra we frequently promote cardiovascular and muscle-strengthening exercise events. This month alone we took part in the Standard Charted Great City Race 2017, competed in the Weybridge Community Rowing Regatta, and participated in The Prudential 100 Cycle Ride.

Encouraging fitness in the office and beyond significantly contributes to employees’ mental and physical health. It nurtures a happier, healthier work environment and lifestyle.

Physical and mental health are often closely linked. Exercising increases the release of serotonin, which can regulate our sleeping pattern. It is clear that our minds and bodies are inextricably connected. Find out more on this topic in our upcoming blog of our WELL series.

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