The workplace, as we know, is changing.  With flexible working, greater use of part-time and irregular hours, and the increasing ability to work from home, we are spending less time than ever at our desks.  Paradoxically, we now spend more time working, as technology drives advances in communications and business networks.  Then, in the UK at least, there is the productivity conundrum – how are we putting more in for lower returns?  But it is not only businesses that are getting less out – job satisfaction remains a concern for many employees.  Something needs to be done.

Motivating personnel and encouraging the whole workforce to operate as a single, cohesive unit is a key objective for every forward-thinking business.  Employee engagement can take many forms – pay incentives, time off in lieu, team building away days and work social events are common methods of rewarding or inspiring achievement.  These are all one-off or cyclical measures, however.   Helping your staff to stay fit and healthy, both in and out of work, offers a far more holistic alternative, and one where the benefit could be immeasurable.

As far back as the beginning of the 1980s, if not earlier, studies were being undertaken into the impact of employee fitness on productivity and absenteeism.  Whilst measuring this is undoubtedly problematic – no two businesses are the same, fitness levels both individually and collectively will fluctuate, external factors are unpredictable – the overall evidence appears to suggest that improvements in fitness are reflected in reduced absences from work and, to a lesser extent, greater employee engagement (if not only through lower staff turnover).

Focussing on reducing absenteeism takes a narrow approach to staff health and suggests a preoccupation with fitness for work that could undermine employee engagement.  A more proactive attitude to encouraging employee fitness would be to view it as an opportunity to improve productivity, if not through a measurable increase in output then as a by-product of a happier, healthier workforce.  The benefits could not be more timely in light of the growing problem of workplace stress and concerns about mental health at the work.

Jacksons Law Firm are proud to be working with Better, Newcastle, to promote their three swimming pools and six newly refurbished fitness gyms, providing a huge choice of facilities and classes across the city and North Tyneside.

Better offer a range of corporate membership packages to suit all sizes of organisations, from small businesses to multinational companies, allowing your business to provide your staff with an affordable benefit which will not only have a positive effect on the workplace but also their lives. 

Tim Bestford is the Partnership Manager for the six Better Leisure Centres in Newcastle and one of his key objectives is to get more people exercising more often in the city and improving health and wellbeing for local residents.  He said “We are looking to work with as many employers as possible so we can make a real difference to their employees work life balance, fitness levels and reduced sickness.  Putting preventative measures in place now to look after staff will generate future benefits for staffing and we’re keen to start discussions with other likeminded companies in the North East.

Meanwhile, the Employment Team at Jacksons are well used to advising businesses on all manner of employment law matters and will be happy to advise you on providing leisure centre membership and other employee engagement benefits to your workforce.

Paul Clark, Associate Solicitor at Jacksons Law Firm and Employment Law specialist, firmly believes that a fitter, happier workforce is more productive “For many years employee health has only really been a concern for employers when it has impacted on attendance, however, it is encouraging that businesses are now beginning to take a more constructive view of staff fitness, whether as a means of incentivising the workforce or, even more positively, as part of a wider, more holistic approach to employee engagement.

For further details, please do not hesitate to contact Tim Bestford or Paul Clark.

Tim Bestford, Better Newcastle Partnership Manager: tim.bestford@gll.org