6 tips to encourage the practice of sport in companies

Working healthy? Mental pressure, burnout, depression, anxiety... Faced with the ailments related to the health crisis, absenteeism is also increasing in Belgium: 39% of employees went on sick leave in 2021, compared to 37% in 2019 (according to a survey by the Belgian health service). Many employers have decided to respond to this and implement sports in companies to improve the health of employees. How can we encourage employees to participate in physical and sporting activities when only 13 of them regularly participate in sporting activities (according to the Eurobarometer Sport and Physical Activity)? Discover our 6 tips to encourage sport in companies!

Appoint sports ambassadors in the company

Arnaud is a running fanatic. He has run the biggest marathons in the world and takes his holidays according to the most demanding major sports competitions (the Diagonale des Fous in Réunion, the Ultra Trail du Mont-Blanc in Chamonix...). Why not offer him to organize a run during your lunch break? Nathalie has been practicing yoga for years and knows the yoga positions by heart. She might be able to help employees find inner serenity through yoga sessions in one of the company's premises?

As you have understood, employees with a passion for sports will be your best allies to encourage the practice of sports and spread its benefits within the company! You can count on them to make your wellness program a success. Besides being the first to be motivated, they will be a good influence to encourage colleagues to exercise as well. These ambassadors will speak positively about the company's sports initiatives and will go even further by possibly helping with the organization of courses, outings or sporting events.

To find your ambassadors, there is nothing easier than doing a survey or a call for volunteers. You can also create a Whatsapp group or a Slack channel with all your ambassadors to share information about upcoming runs or yoga sessions.

Co-creating sports projects within companies with employees

Sport is known to bring people together and to work towards a common goal. A sports program within a company cannot come about if one does not work together. Your employees are the core of this project. Involving all your employees is very important to achieve the goal.

Ask what their favorite sports activities are or which ones they want to start or improve? How often and at what times of the day? Do they prefer to play sports with colleagues or individually? You can also involve employees in the choice of service providers (coach in companies, gym subscription, à la carte subscription, etc.). If your CPPT co-finances some of your companies' sports competitions, now is also the time to ask them about their budget that they are willing to put into a sports activity.

Sports Highlights and Health Prevention Events 

It is vital to experience company highlights all year round. These events offer moments of conviviality and strengthen internal cohesion. By communicating on different topics (sporting events, world days, parties, etc.) that  promoting physical activity and sports can mobilize your employees even better.

By highlighting these, you make the practice of sports more accessible and meaningful. It's also a great way to encourage your employees to exercise. The themes you choose should have something to do with a value you emphasize and your company culture.

You can emphasize the practice of sports in your companies during the sporting events.

For example, the tobacco-free month, usually held every year in November, is an excellent opportunity to guide smokers to resume a sporting activity. For example, you can call on coaches here. You can organize this event at any time of the year.

During the Quality of Life at Work (QWL) week you can organize yoga sessions, set up thematic workshops on the benefits of sport or call a former top athlete for a conference.

Sports events such as the Football World Cup or the Olympic Games are excellent themes for organizing tournaments or team building an Olympiad within the company. The advantage of these events is that they not only combine sports and fun, but also allow you to interact with other employees. to communicate. The whole event creates a friendly atmosphere.

Share your employees' sports competitions and experiences

Did you hear that Camille from the communications department ran her first half marathon in less than 2 hours? Ask her if she's willing to share this news in the next internal newsletter or in a Slack channel dedicated to business!

Congratulating the performance of your employees is a good initiative to stimulate a good dynamic around sport. But be sure to congratulate all kinds of physical and sporting efforts. Not all employees are seasoned athletes capable of breaking records.

At Gymlib we like to share our experiences directly with the sports competitions in the news feed of the Gymlib app or through a dedicated Slack channel. It's a good way to motivate yourself. It also provides a sense of belonging to the company and above all to discover your colleagues differently.

Developing sport in business through commuting

Exercise is defined as "any body movement produced by skeletal muscles that results in energy expenditure."

The challenge is to address employees who do the least sport and for whom sport can be a source of discouragement. For these employees, you can give concrete examples of physical activities that can be done on a daily basis (going to work by bike or on foot, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, leaving a metro station one stop earlier, etc.).

The company offers employees an ideal environment to physically integrate the activity into their daily lives by using active mobility such as cycling or walking. In Belgium, however, "only 13,4% of employers have adopted a policy in favor of bicycles" according to the "bicycle and employers" survey conducted by Cyclobility, while 20% of employees who do not cycle do plan to adopt it. for commuting trips.

Any business is legitimate to encourage active mobility. The bicycle plan offers tax benefits to all companies that rent out bicycles to their employees for long-term commuting.

Prefer a benevolent communication about the benefits of exercise

The health of the employees remains a central element for the proper functioning of the company. It also contributes to performance. As an employer, you play a role in improving the well-being of every employee. Sports within the company is therefore an excellent way of health prevention.

To ensure that your employees appropriate a sport within your organization, you will have to communicate specifically about the health benefits of sport. Linking sports activities, prevention and health can increase the awareness of less active employees.

For example, you can emphasize the health benefits of sports such as reducing stress, improving sleep, protecting against certain cancers or preventing cardiovascular disease in your communication. It's also a matter of demonstrating that your investment in sport in the business helps foster a work environment that is beneficial to well-being.

All you have to do is put these tips into practice to make your sports program a success for your employees! And as Richard Branson, the famous founder of Virgin, puts it so well, "Take care of your employees and they will take care of your business". So, take care of your employees and they take care of your business.