Keep Fit for a Fit Organisation

In recent times, companies have become more conscious about the health of their employees and have begun to actively seek ways to promote healthy lifestyles at work. In addition to enhancing the physical well-being of employees and helping them feel better about themselves, sport can influence work outcomes in positive ways. Not only does sport help to relieve stress, it also builds camaraderie, improves mental alertness, and enhances productivity.

A Burgeoning Trend

Many companies opt to set up a gym in their office premises or invest in corporate gym memberships. Others encourage and finance their staff to participate in an increasing number of corporate sport events. “Three years ago, we covered events with participants that were mainly teenagers and young adults. Nowadays, we cover events such as the Corporate Community Games (CCG), SGX Bull Run and the Stanchart Marathon that cater more to the corporate crowd,” notes Darren Ho, CEO of VOXSPORTS, which covers more than 85 per cent of events in Singapore’s sporting calendar.

As further evidence of the growing impetus among corporate workers to lead active, healthy lifestyles, TODAY recently reported that 330,000 people have signed up for Sport Singapore’s (SportSG) ActiveSG scheme. SportSG will also be introducing a corporate membership programme to allow companies to buy sport packages for individual use by their staff. These companies will be rewarded with extra credits that may be used to participate in the corporate leagues. Sport improves team dynamics and helps co-workers bond. James Walton, Deloitte’s Deputy Client and Markets Leader, says, “[Sport] has really helped bring our firm closer together. When our netball team won the M1 Corporate Challenge event last year, the pride that our staff felt when they saw our colleagues flying the firm’s flag created a great atmosphere in the office."

It Takes Two Hands to Clap

It is crucial that both employers and employees understand the importance of having a healthy and fit workforce. A healthy workforce will be more productive and better able to drive the company forward. When employees understand that keeping fit will help them feel better about their work and themselves, they will strive to ensure that they are always fit and up to the task at hand. Similarly, long hours and demanding responsibilities can get in the way of employees who want to squeeze in some hours of exercise. Companies can help by ensuring that employees have time outside of work to pursue a healthy lifestyle, or set aside some hours a week for exercise. Regular running sessions, football matches, and badminton games can all help to build a keen sense of camaraderie and team spirit and more importantly, motivate others to follow suit.

Nothing but Good Things

Employees who exercise are more attentive during meetings and sharper at work, are more resilient, and have the mental fitness and agility to keep moving forward. Regular sports and exercise also train them to be more disciplined, yet another positive attribute to bring to the workplace. Exercise keeps employees refreshed and looking and feeling better, all of which can only influence their individual performance in positive ways. This can help the company progress as employees will be working at their maximum possible capacity. Studies have also shown that fitter workers are generally happier as they are able to cope better with stress.

Additionally, healthy employees will have fewer doctor visits and sick leave days, translating into cost savings for employers. When employees strike a healthy balance between work, play, and exercise, the ultimate beneficiary will be the company that hires them. A healthier and fitter workforce can only result in a productive company that delivers results and brings out the best in its employees.

Loh Oun Hean is a veteran HR professional who has held management positions in the Ministry of Manpower, Maybank, Singapore Airlines and Deloitte. He is currently a Principal at HR Advisory Asia, delivering advisory and training services in HRM, corporate planning, competency framework development, performance management and industrial relations. Darren Ho is an entrepreneur whose strong passion for sports propelled him to develop VOX Group Pte Ltd, a leading Singapore sport channel covering local sports. Darren runs his own investment company that specialises in natural resources, land investments and property development. He has received accolades in the 2006 Spirit of Enterprise Awards for innovative use of technology to retail sports items and goods.

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