Physical Activity in the Workplace

Benefits of physical activity

Some of the benefits of physical activity in the workplace include:

  • Better employee health and morale that results in improved job performance and service to clients
  • Improved employee health and chance of avoiding health problems that come from being inactive
  • Increased self-confidence and sharper mental skills for employees that will improve employees’ abilities to succeed in all areas of their life

How to increase physical activity in your workplace

Creating workplace policies and supportive environments can make healthy choices easier. Policy and supportive environment approaches to physical activity are more beneficial than exercise programs because of sustainability, cost effectiveness and accountability.

Here are some ways you can create a supportive environment for physical activity in your workplace:

  • Provide secure bike storage, change room and shower facilities, safe and clean stairwells, way-finding signs, motivational posters and safe walking paths.
  • Move office equipment, such as printers, into a common space to get employees to leave their desks.
  • Provide maps for walking and biking routes around your workplace and promote them during employee orientation, through bulletin boards or emails.  Revisit the routes periodically to check for changes and new opportunities.
  • Provide childcare or eldercare before and after work hours to allow employees to participate in physical activity.
  • Promote dress down days or casual dress code to encourage active commuting or being active during breaks and lunch hour.

Here are some policies you can create to support physical activity:

  • Provide flexible work arrangements for employees, such as starting work earlier or later, taking longer lunch breaks by extending the work day, telecommuting or job sharing
  • Subsidize gym memberships or recreation passes
  • Develop corporate policies that reduce prolonged sitting, such as no meetings during lunch; encourage employees to take breaks, walk to offices or workstations to speak with staff instead of emailing or calling; hold walking meetings and take breaks in meetings that are one hour or longer
  • Create policies that support active commuting, such as reduced cost bus passes
  • Make an organizational commitment to advocate for an active community that includes walkable and bikeable streets, mixed-use neighbourhoods, compact design and a transit-oriented culture

Always consult with the appropriate legal and risk management advisors within your workplace to ensure that all due diligence requirements are in place when you are developing policies or programs for your workplace.

Services to support healthy workplace programs

Hamilton employers can access the following services through the City of Hamilton at no cost:

  • Assistance creating, updating or implementing a workplace policy, guideline, practice or procedure relating to physical activity
  • Resources for physical activity

Contact us

To access these services, contact Public Health Services:

Phone: 905-546-2424 Ext. 3634
Email: workplace@hamilton.ca