It’s been a strange year in the workplace, and we’ve all been stuck at home for way too long. Time has stood still, and many of us have too. As we slowly start venturing back out into the light, now is the perfect time to encourage physical fitness and activity among our people. 

HR’s responsibility is to help employees gain the tools that they need to stay healthy, no matter if they’re working from the office or home. Giving employees the tools to embrace physical fitness benefits everyone. Let’s explore three different ways to encourage employees to stay healthy: the UK’s cycle-to-work scheme, office-sponsored fitness activities, and creative challenges.

1. Cycle-to-work scheme

The cycle-to-work scheme is a popular British concept that allows employees to rent and purchase bicycles and equipment through their employer. It gives employees easy access to great equipment without having to lay out the cash in advance (and getting a tax benefit while at it!).

To take advantage of the cycle-to-work scheme, employees can apply for the cycle-to-work program online (or they can go to a store if they prefer) and the employer pays for the equipment up front. Over the next 12 months, deductions are made from the employee’s pay stub. It’s a win-win situation for all: employers encourage employees to be active and cycle-to-work and the employees gain the advantage of an easy payment plan and tax breaks.

2. Office-sponsored fitness activities

Located outside of the UK? There are plenty of ways to encourage your employees to get out and get fit. Subsidizing gym memberships and giving discounts on fitness equipment and resources are great methods to help your employees put wellness at the forefront of their schedule. They’ll love the benefits and therefore enjoy coming to work even more.

Want your employees to spend time on fitness and wellness in the office (or wherever they’re working)? Now’s the time to set up a weekly class schedule (both virtual and in-person). Yoga, pilates, dance, aerobics, and kickboxing will get your employees sweating with an energy boost for more productive work throughout the day. 

Company sports teams are another fun way for employees to get together, have fun, and get a sweat on. Soccer, softball, basketball, or a running club once a week will have your employees committed and having fun on-site.

3. Creative challenges

Not everyone is in the mood for proper sports or fitness activities. While we don’t encourage forcing anyone to participate, it’s worthwhile to be creative in order to get your people moving. 

Here are a few ideas for creative activities in the workplace:

  • Come up with engaging challenges that aid team building (without putting pressure on one person). For example, give bonus points to teams that take on lifestyle-oriented tasks each week, such as having healthy potluck lunches and walking to meetings. The team with the most points at the end of the week gets a company-sponsored happy hour or team lunch.
  • Walk the distance between two offices or locations in your city (or walk to see a coworker if you’re working from home). Did you know that the Hibob London office took enough combined steps one month to reach the NYC office? That’s a big achievement! 
  • Create a point system based on fitness activities. Give points for walking or cycling to work, taking part in a fitness class, climbing the stairs to get to the office, and more. Pick a winner each month and give an exciting prize—one that might even be fitness-related.

Conclusion

The shift to work-from-home has been beneficial in many ways. Unfortunately, it has also meant that many people simply do not move all day long. Now is the time for HR departments to step in and make sure their employees are taking care of themselves.

Physical fitness is a critical part of any good company wellness program. Cycle-to-work is one impressive option that is taking over the UK market now. No matter which programs your company chooses to adopt, make sure that you’re keeping an eye on your employees and their physical state. They’ll thank you for it after and be happier employees in the long run.


From Shayna Hodkin

Shayna lives in south Tel Aviv with two dogs and a lot of plants. She writes poems and reads tarot.