Employee Wellbeing: Let’s Get Physical
Monday 19 November 2018
Health and Wellbeing
As most of us already know, exercise can play an important role in our general Health and Wellbeing. It is recommended that we aim for around 30-60 minutes of exercise a day. (1) This doesn’t have to be strenuous exercise: even simple exercising such as a 30-minute walk or short cycle every day can go towards our daily goal.
Exercise can help us improve our fitness, manage our weight and reduce the risk of certain diseases. It has been medically proven that people who regularly exercise have up to;
35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
50% lower risk of colon cancer
20% lower risk of breast cancer
30% lower risk of early death
83% lower risk of osteoarthritis
68% lower risk of hip fracture
30% lower risk of depression
30% lower risk of dementia (2)
But the benefits don’t stop there!
Exercise can play a vital role in how we perform in the workplace. Several studies have been carried out which demonstrate that exercise can improve work productivity. One study looked at the influence of daytime exercise among office workers with access to a company gym. They found that on the days when employees visited the gym, they managed their time more effectively, more productively and had smoother interactions with their colleagues. They also went home at the end of the day feeling more satisfied with their day. (3)
So how can this be? There are several work-related benefits that could contribute to this:
Exercise increases the blood flow to the brain which, in turn, can make us more alert and help us focus on the tasks ahead. Some people prefer to work out first thing in the morning as they feel it sets them up for a busy day ahead by boosting energy levels and therefore reducing the likelihood of experiencing an afternoon slump. However, it is worth remembering that even a short bout of exercise over lunchtime can help reset our minds and get us motivated for the afternoon. (4)
On the other hand, exercise can also have a positive impact on our sleep patterns. Not only does it help improve the quality of our sleep by helping increase the time spent in deep sleep (the most physically restorative sleep phase) but it can also increase the duration of our nightly sleep. (5) One of the big benefits of regular exercise is that it can help improve mental health. Have you ever had that buzz or ‘Runner’s High’ after exercising? When we exercise, the brain releases chemicals called endorphins which trigger a positive feeling in the body. As previously discussed, exercise can help lower our risk of developing certain conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. As well as this, our body’s immune system becomes stronger, reducing the chance of catching the cold or flu, resulting in fewer days off work, which keeps the boss happy! (6)
One of the biggest problems we all face is trying to find the time to exercise in our daily lives. According to the Office for National Statistics, we spend an average of 37.3 hours per week working. (7) Therefore, we need to start thinking of simple ways to become more active during the working week.
This doesn’t mean that we have go to the gym every day. If we are aiming for 30 minutes of exercise, then we could break it up throughout the day by introducing small changes to our working lifestyle such as:
Going for a walk during lunch hour or even by introducing walking meetings with colleagues
Ditching the lift and using the stairs throughout the day
Leaving the car at home and walking to work or maybe getting off the bus one stop earlier
Cycling to work - not only will this help increase fitness levels, but it will also help the bank balance by saving money on public transport or petrol
Finding an activity that is enjoyable: you will be more likely to stick with it
Making it part of your daily routine: if it feels like a chore, you will be less likely to do it
Working out with others: this can make it more enjoyable and it also makes it a lot harder to drop out, knowing that others are relying on you.
Individually, we all have a responsibility to look after ourselves and have some understanding of the overall importance of exercise. But, increasingly, employers are now also taking into consideration the impact exercise can have on their workforce.
According to a recent study by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, employees felt that their organisation’s health and wellbeing activity has had positive results, including: better employee morale and engagement (44%); a healthier and more inclusive culture (35%); and lower sickness absence (31%). (8)
According to a survey by Aon Employee Benefits, 84% of employers now consider themselves to have a responsibility in influencing their workforce’s approach to health and wellbeing. Since 2017, they have seen a 25% increase in the number of companies with a dedicated health and wellbeing budget. (9)
Some companies might simply view the focus on wellbeing in the workplace as the latest trend but, here at FinTrU, we feel it plays a vital role in developing our staff and culture. As part of our commitment to attracting and retaining the best talent, we strongly believe in investing in a robust and holistic wellbeing strategy that provides opportunities and support to our diverse workforce.
We offer a wide range of activities and benefits as part of our wellbeing strategy, including:
Various Clubs/Activities – Football, Rugby, GAA, Squash, Golf, Basketball, Rowing, High Intensity Interval Training, Yoga, Walk and Talk
Cycle to Work Scheme
Discounted Gym Memberships
Free Healthy Breakfasts
Private Medical Insurance
Health Cash Plan
Although employers have a responsibility to develop and support their staff professionally, they must also consider the positive impact a wellness programme can have on both their employees and the bottom line.
Founded in December 2013, FinTrU is a multi-award winning financial services company that is committed to giving local talent the opportunity to work on a global stage with the largest international investment banks. FinTrU provides its clients with high quality, cost-effective, near-shore resourcing solutions. FinTrU’s products are: Legal, Risk, Compliance, KYC, Operations and Consultancy. Its clients are all Tier 1 Investment Banks based in London, New York, Tokyo, Frankfurt and Paris. FinTrU currently employs 330 staff at its two Belfast city centre offices and Derry/Londonderry.
Lisa joined FinTrU in March 2017 as Office Manager of our Head Office in Belfast. She has oversight of facilities management ensuring the smooth running of the office on a day to day basis whilst managing a team of support staff. Prior to this, Lisa worked in Senior Administrator roles for Fidessa and Belfast City Council.
Lisa is involved in a number of committees with FinTrU including our Social Media Committee and TrU Wellness Committee. Lisa holds a degree in Sports Science and as a FinTrU Health Champion supports staff participation in a wide range of healthy activities and initiatives.