Posted on February 21, 2020 by Gordon Smith

Employee wellbeing has moved from a “nice to have” in an organisation to a “need to have” to ensure happier and engaged staff.

With flexible working and freelancing becoming increasingly popular, the employment market in the UK is extremely competitive, so perks, benefits and wellbeing packages are now crucial in order to attract and retain employees.

Naturally, fitness is one of the most popular options, with organisations providing subsidised gym memberships or workplace gyms.

In fact, recent research into employee health and wellbeing from the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD), highlights that over 40% of businesses surveyed have an in-house gym or offer subsidised gym membership.

The gym environment is supposed to be an uplifting experience in wellness and positivity, so it’s important that the space reflects and communicates this. We look at how gym design can help with employee engagement and motivation.

Your branding and its values

Your wellbeing and employee fitness strategy shouldn’t be a standalone programme, it should be 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.

It’s also important to separate and differentiate work from fitness, so once an employee crosses the threshold from the office area into the gym, their mindset has got to change. And, this is where design becomes crucial.

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

Deliveroo home gym

The gym as an ‘experience’

Gyms, especially corporate gyms, are no longer made up of a couple of treadmills in an empty office; instead they are becoming more immersive spaces where employees can really switch-off and get some headspace.

Through the use of creative lighting, you can transform a space to be hi-energy or more of a sense of calm. It may seem counter-productive to reduce natural light, but artificial light can help create a new environment, and therefore a new experience.

Using positive colours, such as blues, yellows and greens can help enhance the purpose of a space and create an experience similar to being in an uplifting, endorphin-bursting environment, such as a nightclub. Remember the great feeling you get in a club, or anywhere else for that matter, when you hear your favourite song?

This environment is perfect for high-energy exercise, such as HIIT workouts or Spin and can help employees mentally switch-off from work and get in the ‘zone’ for an aerobic workout.

Needless to say, recreating a nightclub experience in the gym is not necessarily compatible to more zen-like experiences that need natural daylight, such as Yoga. If you have the space, make sure you separate the two areas. Otherwise, blackout blinds or shutters are a great compromise.


HIIT and functional fitness workouts require different types of exercise, and also 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.

As a result, gyms are increasingly zoning their space to create sections for specific parts of the workout routine, as well as incorporating traditionally outdoor exercise into the interior design of the gym, such as sprint tracks.

A great example of this is the Team GB Taekwondo training centre in Manchester, where they have created a visually striking space that clearly marks different zones for workouts through colour, floor markings and grouping equipment together according to purpose.

Think about your office space

Depending on the look and feel you’re trying to achieve in your gym space, it does help to ensure the design works with your building. 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. With a Victorian or postmodern office block, it may not be possible to achieve this, so try thinking about the building’s history – as well as your own organisation’s journey – and use that to help shape your gym space.

If you’re in an office that could do with a bit of a makeover, 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.

We help with all aspects of gym design, right from initial concept, design and installation and we also understand the complexities involved when creating a gym in the workplace. Not only that, but with many ways to finance the project, it is an affordable and realistic option for your business.

Interested? Drop us a line at to find out more about how we can turn your workplace gym dream into a reality.