Could regular trips to the gym help your people achieve a better work-life balance?
Two-thirds of British workers are unhappy with their work-life balance, according to research commissioned by Gympass and reported on in the Independent. This figure shines a light on a struggle that many of us face on a daily basis, balancing demanding jobs with downtime, family time, and all of the other commitments that make up our increasingly hectic lives. But the constant strain of long working hours can have a severe impact on both our physical and mental health. The Mental Health Foundation, a UK charity, reports, “The pressure of an increasingly demanding work culture in the UK is perhaps the biggest and most pressing challenge to the mental health of the general population.”
So, what can we do to make things better? And how can employers ensure that their workforce finds this elusive balance and avoids burnout? One important answer may be found at the gym. The Gympass study also found that 75% of employees believe that regular exercise is key to achieving good work-life balance, while just under half agreed that they find it easier to focus at work after exercise. These findings are supported by research from Leeds Metropolitan University which discovered that employees who exercised during the workday reported higher levels of work satisfaction.
It’s little wonder that exercise makes work better; exercise releases hormones called endorphins which help to block pain and create a feeling of euphoria. Simply, exercise makes us feel good. It has also been shown to have a positive effect on conditions like stress and depression while reducing the likelihood of chronic diseases like diabetes and cancer. Exercise can help to improve work-life balance by increasing feelings of self-confidence while reducing stress levels.
It’s clear the exercise plus work is a good thing for both workers and employers. But whose responsibility is it to ensure people can access the workouts that help them to find a better balance? We all have an individual responsibility to our own personal wellbeing, but employers who create a meaningful employee wellness programme and promote the benefits of exercise – perhaps through an onsite gym or subsidised membership – may find themselves ahead of the competition on productivity and employee engagement.
At Ventula, we are committed to helping our employees achieve a great work-life balance and creating a culture of awareness around mental health and wellbeing issues. Many of our team choose to hit the gym over lunch and we believe that it makes for a healthier and happier workplace. Could providing greater access to exercise help your people find their best work-life balance?