Should the offices of the future have a gym/yoga studio?
9th October 2019
You might not associate your office as somewhere to get fit. However, more businesses are considering the mental wellbeing of their employees by offering them a space to exercise. Statistics from Hubble, a digital office agent, show that on average there has been an eight percent increase each month in companies searching for an office with an on-site gym. Gone are the days when the office was a place you spent the hours of 9am to 5pm, rushing out of the door at the end of the day to get home.
Recent research from CV-Library, an independent job board, suggests that 64 percent of Brits work more hours than they are contracted to. The study surveyed 1,200 working professionals and found that more than a third work 1-3 hours extra each week, amounting to 96 hours every year. It also showed that despite working all these extra hours, many Brits are struggling to make ends meet. So, with all this extra time spent at work, and a lack of spare cash, there is little free time left for health and leisure activities such as exercising.
This raises the question of whether employers should be offering additional facilities such as gyms or a yoga studio in the office, and will these become the norm in offices of the future? More businesses are taking responsibility for their employees’ wellbeing, with many creating a dedicated role to ensure that this obligation is fulfilled.
Whilst one in seven Brits has membership to the gym, visiting outside of working hours might be a challenge, so businesses are now thinking of way to incorporate this into the office. Evidence suggests that exercise improves mental wellbeing, boosting endorphins, increasing energy and making you feel better about yourself, whilst also ensuring you stay fit and healthy.
Smart employers recognise that healthy, happy employees, who have a good work-life balance, will be more productive in the office.
Statistics show that the benefits of exercise are being recognised by employers, with companies now seeking office spaces that include a gym. An on-site office gym could be a smart investment, making it easier for staff to find time to exercise, and in turn boost their health and wellbeing. This then increases their productivity and morale, and sends a signal that their employer cares about them. This may also improve staff retention rates, or attract new talent.
However, this might not be an option for all businesses right now.
If you are looking to relocate, then a gym might already be on your list of priorities. However, if moving isn’t part of your foreseeable future, consider the space you do have and how it could be used more effectively to benefit employees’ health and wellbeing. Could an empty office be used for lunchtime yoga classes? Is there space to put some gym equipment such as rowing or running machines? Or maybe you have outside space which could be used for outdoor exercise equipment.
At MovePlan, we can ensure you are using your workspace as efficiently and effectively as possible, using our space utilisation studies. Whether you want to find space to install a gym, or use an empty office for lunchtime yoga classes, we have the expertise to help put your space to optimal use, without impacting business continuity or productivity. We gather data to enable you to fully understand the space your organisation has, and how it’s being used. You might discover you already have capacity for gym equipment in the space you have, without having to relocate.
Alternatively, you could encourage staff to join forces and exercise together, such as going for a jog or walk after work, training for a fitness challenge, or walking or cycling to and from the office.
You could offer incentives, such as the UK Government’s Cycle to Work Scheme, which enables employees to save 25 to 39 percent off the cost of a new bike and accessories, whilst also spreading the cost. Employers benefit too, saving up to 13.8 per cent in National Insurance Contributions for every employee who goes through the scheme. On average, an employer will save £138 for every £1,000 they process via the scheme, and can also fully recover the initial cost of the bike. Not only this, but as a company you will be reducing your impact on the environment by cutting harmful CO2 emissions from cars.
So, whilst offices of the future are looking increasingly likely to include gyms, there are other ways to give staff the same benefits, without having to relocate or spend a fortune.
Whatever changes you are looking to make to improve staff health and wellbeing, here at MovePlan we are experts at managing change in the office. From relocation to a redesign of the furniture, we can support you through that change to ensure it goes smoothly, and everyone remains productive and happy.