8 ways businesses can encourage employees to move more

The cost of physical inactivity, lifestyle related disease and costs accrued through sickness absence, are estimated at £8.2 billion in a year in England alone. Given the knock-on effects this can have on business, employers are increasingly looking for ways to promote the health and wellbeing of their staff.

When looking to boost physical activity and wellbeing of staff, many companies look to charity marathons to run 5 or 10K. While these will attract a small portion of the workforce, they are less effective at promoting an inclusive approach to physical exercise that will engage the entire team.

With more traditional “water cooler moments” being lost to remote and hybrid working, it has become more important than ever to encourage collaboration and team building as well as promote staff wellbeing.

While it might seem like a tough undertaking, applying a little creativity when looking to implement a company-wide fitness programme can pay dividends in the long-run. Here are ten small changes you can make to create an inclusive policy towards physical activity, and get employees and managers moving more.

  1. Be flexible

Exercise is not a one-size-fits-all activity. While some employees might enjoy going for a bike ride after work, or a session at the gym before they start in the morning, others may prefer a mid-morning yoga session. Taking a flexible approach means allowing staff to move freely throughout the day when they are the most motivated to do physical activities.

  1. Build an active company culture

Company-wide programmes are at their most effective when they are realised throughout all levels of the business. Senior staff and managers must be on board, and pave the way forward in developing a new culture where it is okay to build exercise into the daily work routine.

  1. Invest in resources

Equipping employees with the tools and resources they need to encourage them to be more active can be a game-changer. This could be something as simple as some basic yoga or meditation training, or even providing refillable water bottles or pedometers as welcome gifts to a physical activity initiative. These small things can go a huge way in boosting morale and getting everyone on board with a new policy.

  1. Use charity as a motivator

Raising money for a worthy cause, especially causes which are close to the values of the business and its staff, is a powerful way to encourage more employee involvement. Charitable fundraising makes people feel good with the knowledge they are investing their time and energy into a good cause, while promoting a sense of camaraderie amongst the team.

  1. Encourage people to do what they love

While team sports can be an excellent way to build team connections and boost physical activity levels, they are not for everyone. Encouraging your employees to do the activities they truly love, not simply those they feel they should be doing, is the key to integrating these behaviours into everyone’s daily routines.

  1. Introduce gamification

People love friendly competition! Introducing a company leader board that focuses on minutes of exercise over miles or distance travelled is a great way to get everyone involved regardless of the particular activity they choose to do.

  1. Identify fitness ambassadors

Getting employees who are already passionate about health and fitness to become ambassadors for a company-wide fitness programme will help the initiative spread throughout the business more organically, not simply as a directive from management. These employees might choose to form exercise groups, or gain feedback from colleagues on the kinds of activities they would like to do.

  1. Promote agile working

Hybrid working has become almost de rigueur, presenting some great opportunities to encourage more physical movement throughout the day. Employees who are office-based should be empowered to work in different areas throughout the office, breaking the habitual behaviour of sitting in one place for long periods of time. Remote workers should similarly be encouraged to work from wherever they choose, optimising their productivity in the process.


Some of the smallest changes can make a huge difference to the success of a fitness programme within your company. What is important is giving all employees an equal opportunity to improve their physical activity levels at work, by implementing measures that focus on inclusivity regardless of physical abilities.