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Resource #15

How to get your whole business on board with physical activity

Whether you offer an onsite gym or a regular walking group, the take up rates of physical activity opportunities can be varied and are dependent on many factors. The Healthy Workplaces Achievement Program has six tips to help you confidently build a successful workplace physical activity program.

1. Ask questions

Have you asked your employees what they want? Your initiatives will be more successful when your employees feel involved and empowered to take ownership. Importantly, engaging your employees ensures their views, needs and wants are considered. If done well, it will ensure your health and wellbeing strategies reflect what your employees believe is important.

Regular feedback from your employees can help your program stay relevant to their needs and expectations.

2. Communication

Promote your commitment to health and wellbeing to employees. Explain why you’re committed to health and wellbeing, what’s in it for employees and how your plan will roll out. Keep the communication going as you establish your goals, introduce new initiatives and keep sharing health information. Why not give your program a catchy name and use your workplace bulletins, emails, meetings, posters and intranet to get the word out there?

Communicating regularly will help gain employee buy in, increase your participation rates and increase awareness of the benefit your workplace is offering employees.

3. Enlist support

You don’t have to go it alone. Successful health and wellbeing programs can take time and many hands will make light work. Setting up a health and wellbeing committee or adding health and wellbeing to the agenda of another committee is key when developing a culture of health and wellbeing.

Your wellbeing team could unearth undiscovered talent with a passion for health and provide an opportunity to employees looking to broaden their skill-set or diversify their role in the organisation. When recruiting team members, highlight membership as a development or networking opportunity.

4. Engage leadership

Strong leadership sends an important message that the organisation takes health and wellbeing seriously. Leadership involvement and enthusiasm can make a huge difference to the success of your health and wellbeing plan and management engagement will help integrate your health goals with organisation values and culture.

When engaging leaders, it’s important to remember to include all levels of management, including people managers. It’s great to have leadership commitment and employee buy in, but if direct line managers aren’t on board, employees may not feel comfortable using your policies such as flexible leave or taking time to participate in activities.

5. Review activities regularly

Assessing what your organisation is currently doing to promote health and wellbeing allows you to identify strengths, gaps and opportunities. This will help you target activities to the needs and priorities of your workforce and guide future planning.

6. Follow a plan

Setting up a health and wellbeing program for your employees can seem like an intimidating task. It’s not surprising that organisations start by trialling pedometer challenges, adding health information to a newsletter or participating in awareness days. These are all great initiatives, but to get the most out of your time and effort, sticking to a plan and considering all angles of your organisation is important.

For initiatives to be the most successful, taking a whole organisation approach is key, and should include staff learning opportunities, communications, and creating supportive environments and cultures.

The Healthy Workplaces Achievement Program is completely free and provides you with an evidence-based framework to create a healthy environment. Members gain access to resources and guidance on how to achieve best-practice standards in five key health areas. Members are supported to identify and implement policy, cultural and environmental changes to promote workplace health and wellbeing.