September 21, 2017
The majority of UK employees (61 percent) do not feel encouraged by their employer to lead an active lifestyle, despite most managers agreeing that exercise positively impacts employees’ productivity (78 percent) and their ability to handle stress (82 percent) claims new research from AXA PPP healthcare. Of those British employees who do exercise after work, nearly half (46 percent) would prefer to do so before work but 79 percent blame a lack of time in the morning; yet for those who find time to be physically active before work, three quarters (75 percent) feel it spurs them on to be more effective in the morning while 69 percent feel more productive. More worryingly, nearly half of employees (45 percent) of employees admit they do not do the NHS recommended 30 minutes of daily exercise, five times a week, but finding time to be physically active during the working day can be difficult, or undesirable. Sixty?two percent of employees with good intentions to exercise at work find they’re cancelling their lunchtime exercise plans due to workload or work commitments.
Perception is also stopping employees from exercising during the working day. Low self?esteem and body issues is a barrier preventing 22 percent of employees from exercising with colleagues, while one in 10 are deterred by the prospect of wearing spandex and general gym gear. This reluctance may be fuelled by the perception of more than one in four employers (26 percent) who see the wearing of gym clothes at work as unprofessional. Physical appearance aside, the biggest barrier stopping employees from exercising with colleagues is embarrassment around feeling unfit (25 percent).
In light of these barriers, 63 percent of bosses would consider allowing their workforce the flexibility to start work an hour later, so they could be more active and get their day off to a flying start, if they made up the time elsewhere.
According toAXA PPP healthcare, whether it’s organising exercise classes at lunchtime, providing subsidised gym access or simply encouraging a more active commute, employers should do their best to promote and support employees to be active during the working day. This is why it will join forces with ukactive on National Fitness Day on 27th September, to urge bosses from businesses of all sizes to help their employees get National Fitness Day off to a Flying Start by pushing back the working day by one hour to enable them to do something active.