Posted on May 02, 2018 by Gordon Smith
Corporate wellbeing can increase employee retention, reduce absenteeism and increase productivity and efficiency. A happier, fitter workforce is an engaged one, better able to meet the demands of the business. If your business is looking at rolling-out a wellbeing strategy, we look at the latest stats and outline how fitness should be a key element of your strategy.
Awareness of corporate wellbeing is on the increase but is still a relatively young concept in the UK. In a nutshell, wellbeing in the workplace is usually encouraged using a range of packages and benefits designed to improve employee performance and happiness. These include financial education, health checks and physical and mental fitness.
Employee workstyle preferences are changing – we now have flexible working, the gig economy and, to top it off, we’re going through a start-up revolution. With over 600,000 businesses established last year alone, employee retention is now a serious issue.
This means that organisations are having to work harder to attract and retain employees, and one way to stand out from the crowd is employee wellbeing. In fact, when looking for a new role, there’s a startling statistic:
50% of employees would overlook a 10% pay rise and choose a company that cared about their wellbeing.
Now is a great time to start addressing this issue.
Wellness or wellbeing?
A wellbeing programme adopts a more holistic approach to employee happiness and looks at all areas of lifestyle, which includes the mind, body, safety, security and finance.
Under the wellbeing banner, employers can support employees through financial education or money management, helping those who not only work during the day but are also fulltime carers (an increasing sector), as well as help with the more traditional aspects, such as pensions and insurance.
Wellness, however, is just one part of an organisation’s overall wellbeing strategy and covers all areas to do with the mind and body, such as fitness, mental health and mindfulness. Wellness provision in the workplace tends to be the most popular choice for employers as it’s welcomed by employees and a very tangible benefit.
Fitness continues to be a key focus:
86% of employers included physical activity in their wellbeing strategy, followed closely by mental health at 82% 
Perhaps more interestingly, a study from Reba has highlighted that sleep is the fastest growing area that employers are looking to address, with a staggering 88% of organisations planning future growth in this area. Quite simply, a good night’s sleep improves concentration and productivity.
Fitness challenges, such as marathons, hikes or bike rides are also rapidly increasing. They were some of the most popular initiatives in the workplace last year and this is not set to slow down.
Mindfulness is also a fast-growing area.
Nearly 40% of employers are planning to introduce mindfulness sessions over the next few years 
This has been widely recognised as a very effective tool for helping to reduce stress and help employees adopt a more positive mindset.
How to support fitness at work
There are many initiatives you can implement to show support in the workplace. For example, an immediate solution could be to sponsor a charity fitness event, which would rapidly increase employee engagement and encourage teamworking.
Another way to help support the training required for charity challenges, as well as generally increase overall workplace fitness, is to install a corporate gym. This doesn’t have to be expensive and if the money is spent wisely it can reap great rewards and there are even ways to make money from your company gym.
Benefits of a corporate gym
If you are considering having a complete gym installation, then this is a great opportunity to get employee buy-in and increase motivation and engagement. There are many ways you can finance the installation and ongoing maintenance, so this is not something that only large corporates have the ability to achieve.
Nick Sadler, Managing Director at motive8, says:
“Employee wellbeing is becoming a vital part of a business strategy. Retention and engagement are key issues in the workplace, so setting your business apart from the competition by advocating and promoting wellness will support business growth.’
Fitness has been proven to help improve overall mental health and improve recovery times after illness. Last year, there were over half a million employees suffering from work-related stress and
12.5 million work days were lost as a result of work-related stress
This issue is on the increase.
As part of an organisation’s wellbeing strategy to help reduce work-related stress, a gym in the workplace can provide employees with a motivating environment in order to burn-off excess stress and get away from their desk.
Not only that, but a good workout will also help remove employees from the cause of the stress and give them a fresh perspective on a problem or issue; therefore, the gym not only becomes a place of fitness, but also a space where employees can take control and feel more positive about work or, potentially, their life in general.
This can only be a good thing, right?
 REBA Employee Wellbeing Research 2017 The evolution of workplace wellbeing in the UK