fit-friendly-workplaceBusiness is replete with sports metaphors—down to the wire, dropped the ball, knocked it out of the park—and there certainly are parallels, including motivating people to give their best. But even if your workday doesn’t start and end in a locker room, you may still want to think like a coach when it comes to recruiting and benefits.

Ideas for creating a fit-friendly workplace 

The roster: Hire athletes (and other achievement-oriented types). You can train new hires to master on-the-job skills, but it’s hard to instill the kind of work ethic it takes to train for a marathon or play a collegiate sport.

Other helpful traits athletes bring to the workplace:

  • Planning. Athletes understand the value of incremental progress, constantly assessing where they stand relative to their goals and what they need to do next.
  • Not taking the easy road. Up at 5:00am to train? No one succeeds in sport without learning to say “yes” to hard work.
  • Resilience. In sports, setbacks are inevitable. Athletes learn from loss and move on, keeping their eye on the goal.  
  • Team dynamics. Athletes understand not just how to share workload, but how to leverage the strength of others and adjust their own role to achieve shared goals.
  • Stewards of health. Managing training, nutrition, and sleep to achieve high performance gives athletes a keen sense of body awareness.  

The equipment: Make it easy for all of your employees to be physically active, regardless of their ability and fitness level. Short periods of physical activity throughout the day counter the negative health effects of prolonged sitting and also improve cognitive function. Make frequent movement part of the cultural norm at your organization.

Consider offering these facilities and benefits:

  • Locker rooms and showers, or access to showers at a nearby gym or office building
  • Bike storage
  • Clearly marked stairwells
  • Movement-friendly work stations
  • Discount or free gym memberships
  • Onsite yoga classes
  • Onsite chiropractic care or back health classes
  • Discount or free activity trackers, along with incentives and challenges

The plays: Company-sponsored, healthy activities can be highly effective for recruiting, fostering teamwork, and solidifying a culture of health.

Of course, the golden rule of wellness programs applies here: offer a range of options to appeal to a variety of types. An evening softball game may be a fun social event for some, but difficult to juggle with family obligations for others. Competitions can be tremendous motivators for some, and a warning siren for others.

There are plenty of options for healthy activities:

  • Local and national charity events (e.g. March of Dimes, Tour de Cure, etc.)
  • Corporate leagues (Not limited to softball and bowling! Look for bocce, kickball, and even skiing in some states.)
  • Corporate Cup 5K walk/runs
  • Active volunteering like trail maintenance or litter pick-up
  • Internal step challenges (team or individual)

Your goal as “coach” at your organization is to be a team that attracts top talent, supports every individual’s path to high performance, and makes sure everyone gets some playing time!

Download: Making the Business Case for a Healthy Workforce

Topics: Healthy Workforce