Posted on November 16, 2018 by Gordon Smith

Since the inspiring 2012 Olympics, we have seen an increasing interest in workplace fitness and employee wellbeing. Which is why we are now installing more workplace gyms than ever. The design of a workplace gym is an opportunity to foster wellbeing and fitness amongst your workforce.

As much as we’d all like to install a gym and let employees ‘get on with it’, there are a few factors at play here. You are competing with external gym providers or people who may not be keen on exercise, so there is work to be done to motivate and entice staff to use the space.

As we know, the gym environment is designed to be an uplifting experience, fostering wellness and positivity, so it’s important that the gym space reflects and communicates this. As a result, it needs to connect with your company and not just be a standalone entity but be part of your company vision and personality.

We give you some pointers on how your brand identity can help create an amazing gym space for employees.

Consider your brand and its values

Your corporate wellbeing strategy shouldn’t be a separate initiative, it should an integral part of the culture and values of your organisation. So it’s important to think about how you want to communicate that in your gym space.

For example, we worked with a business development company to help create a gym. To create the right space for that particular organisation, all employees were involved and participated in a consultation process.

Getting their input into how they wanted their fitness space to work really helped from an equipment perspective. And it helped employees buy in to the core values of the organisation.

Design

Entering a gym should be a chance to switch out of work mode and into a more mindful and focussed state. So once an employee crosses the threshold from the office area into the gym, their mindset has got to change. This is where design becomes crucial.

Wall graphics with motivational words or sentences are ideal. They are still very much on trend for a gym space. They are also a great way to communicate your brand values through logo marques or branding. It will help create an inspiring environment to motivate and engage employees.

Depending on the look and feel you’re trying to achieve in your gym space, it also helps to ensure the design works with your brand’s look and feel. If you’ve created a fresh, contemporary office space, then it makes sense to keep that look in your gym.

If you want an industrial look, for example, think about how that can be achieved in your building and connect with your vision.

If you are in a Victorian or postmodern office block, get thinking about the building’s history – as well as your own organisation’s journey – and use that to help shape your gym space. Gym design is actually an opportunity to celebrate the architecture and history of your workplace, creating a deeper emotional sense of connection to place.

If you’re in an office that could do with a bit of a makeover – or you’re in the process of redefining your vision and values – then why not use the gym as a blank canvas to create a new look that truly reflects your brand and company personality? This could inspire the leadership team to recreate the look throughout other areas of the building.

Employee engagement

More and more organisations are putting well-being high on the company agenda in order to attract and retain employees. This is also driving businesses to re-think their brand values and benefits.

An in-house gym is a great way to increase employee engagement. It can improve productivity by up to an amazing 25%. A US survey found that, by increasing employee engagement investment by 10%, it increases profits by $2,400 per employee, per year.

More importantly, there is a direct link between workplace stress and associated mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression, which is currently costing the UK economy £2.4 billion, and an issue that businesses can no longer ignore.

Nick Sadler, Managing Director, m8group says:

‘Mental health is a serious issue in the UK. With the NHS increasing spend on this area, exercise is now more important than ever for employee wellbeing, and why it should be a core element of your company vision to drive growth.’

Zoning for all

If space is at a premium in your office, then zoning is a good way to maximise your gym. Functional fitness and HIIT are becoming more and more popular, which is why gyms are increasingly zoning their space to create sections for specific parts of a workout routine.

HIIT and functional fitness workouts require different types of exercise, not to mention different ways of thinking.  With HIIT you’re increasing heartrate and focusing on getting aerobic, but with functional fitness it’s all about posture, core strength and repetition.

Multifunctional towers, free weights and ellipticals will help employees focus on their preferred workout and ensure long term commitment from them. If you do have space for group work, whether it’s an area in the gym or a separate studio, then you’re able to offer employees more choice.

Zoning can also fit with your company vision. If you’re seen as a fast, dynamic organisation, then your gym can reflect this. If you’re more of an established brand, then providing a mixture of current workout trends with traditional equipment can also be effective.

As we said earlier, a gym isn’t a standalone room with a treadmill and a watercooler, it’s an intrinsic part of an organisation and a great place to reflect your organisation’s core values. If we’ve given you something to think about, then why not get in touch and find out more.