Are you looking for something sporty for your staff, colleagues or business? Have you considered entering a triathlon, cycling challenge or running event? More and more companies are looking to sport as way of team building, motivating and energising their employees and this blog post explains a little more about why you should at least consider it.
Anyone who works at companies such as Google or Facebook will find a number of opportunities for individual and team sporting activities right on the corporate campus. And these are not the only corporations that have put fitness centres, volleyball, handball, tennis, and basketball courts, swimming pools and so forth. What employers have come to realise is what research has been saying for a long time has been saying for a long time – employees who participate in sports activities, either during or outside of their workdays, are far more productive. And companies want to encourage their workers to “get physical” for 4 primary benefits.
There are now a number of studies that link physical activity to improved brain functioning, specifically in:
More Rapid Learning
Ability to engage in mental activity for longer periods of time
Employers have come to see that physical activity is not something employees do as on their own, outside of work, as some type of personal indulgence. They are coming to the realization that physical activity must be considered a part of work itself.
Energy and Alertness
Engaging in sports activities increases blood flow to the brain, something that definitely contributes to alertness and thinking outside the box. It increases metabolism for longer periods of time than simply ingesting caffeine or energy drinks. About 1 in every 4 people suffer from chronic fatigue – due to many factors, including poor diet and lack of sleep. They believe that participating in sports will only increase their fatigue. Researchers from the University of Georgia, however, discovered that even a quick workout or short participation in a sport appears to have a positive impact on the central nervous system, boosting energy levels. So, employees who have the opportunity to engage in a short burst of physical activity, say, during an extended lunch period, will have more energy the rest of their work days. More energy = greater productivity.
Good Physical Health
Regular exercise will also assist weight loss and lower the risk for certain diseases, specifically cardiovascular. The more physically fit a person is, the more physical stamina s/he will have. Those whose jobs entail physical demands will be far better able to perform those work tasks. Fitness also reduces the chances of on-the-job injuries. Many companies, whose employees are involved in physical labour on the job are now requiring stretching and warm-up exercises at the beginning of each shift. Here are some of the benefits of these exercises in terms of productivity:
Reduction in musculoskeletal injuries
Increases blood flow to joints and soft tissue and promotes greater elasticity
Increases flow of synovial fluid – greater motion range and less joint degeneration
Improves nerve velocity – the time for an impulse to travel to the brain and back.
The added benefit is an emotional one. When employees realize that companies are willing to help them stay fit and healthy, even while they are “on the clock,” they believe that the company cares about their well-being. Improvement in morale and the desire to be productive increases.
Mental Health Improvement
Productivity on the job requires good mental health. Stress, anxiety, depression, in fact, are productivity “killers” and lead to failure to complete tasks and to meet deadlines. When employees are engaged in physical exercise, the brain sends out more serotonin, also known as the “feel good” hormone. Serotonin is actually a neurotransmitter that relays messages to the body that improve mood and emotion. Improved mood allows workers to be more cheerful about their job tasks, to get along better with others, and to have a more positive impact on the general work climate.
Prevention of Illness
One of the greatest causes of loss of productivity in the workplace is employee illness. Most of these illnesses relate to bacterial and viral infections that cause colds and flu. There is a large body of research indicating that regular moderate exercise enhances the body’s immune system to fight of these nasty germs. One study at the University of Illinois used rats. All were exposed to a flu virus over a period of days. At the same time, the rats were divided into groups. One group was forced into a sedentary existence; another group was given the opportunity for moderate exercise – wheel treadmills, etc. The group that engaged in moderate exercise. Half of the sedentary mice died from the virus. Only 12% of the moderate exercisers died. This particular flu virus is often fatal to rodents but only makes humans ill. Cells were examined, and it was found that the exercising rats had more T-1 cells (those that fight diseases) than the non-exercising rats.
Soft Skill Development
Team sports can be highly competitive and even a bit nasty, particularly with pro teams and money at stake. However, when team sports occur for purposes of fun and physical fitness, soft skills that are critical for productivity will develop. For example, practice in being a member of a team and collaborating for a goal is a key skill that can transfer over to project work on the job. And, if those team sports involve employees from the same organization, having fun and developing camaraderie are factors in creation of a positive workplace culture.
Companies are coming to realise the fact that employee participation in sporting activities is an important part of their jobs and their productivity. The trend to encourage and offer such activities during the work day continues.
if you would like to know more about how RG Active can help you with any of the above and show you examples of us delivering sport to businesses and seeing amazing results, then contact our business development officer John via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Keep working, keep being active!