The Link Between Fitness and Job Performance—And How You Can Take Action Today
Employees are expected to be in excellent mental shape and be productive contributors to their company. However, a survey from the UK revealed the average worker is productive for a mere 2 hours and 53 minutes per day, which is quite a gap when considering the standard work day is 8 hours.
But there’s good news: being physically fit can actually benefit employees’ work performance. Here’s how:
- Being fit can help employees feel happier. A positive outlook in the office is key when it comes to employees being star performers. Research shows that happy employees are typically 12% more productive than unhappy ones. But how can employees get happy and stay that way? One way is by taking care of their health and wellbeing. Researchers from Penn State University found that physically active people reported greater general feelings of excitement and enthusiasm compared to those who are less active.
- Being fit can give employees more energy. Moving more can help increase energy, setting employees up to be more successful at work. One study compared groups of people who exercised regularly to a sedentary group, and found those who exercised experienced a substantial increase in energy throughout the day. To keep employees energized, organize team walks, group exercises or even quick stretch breaks throughout the day.
- Being fit can improve productivity. When employees are in a situation that requires some serious concentration, working out first can help them bring their A-game. A study comparing a group who exercised for 15 minutes to one that didn’t found enhanced cognitive performance in the people that sweat it out. On top of that, getting active is great for relieving work-related stress.
Encourage employees to take further action in enhancing their job performance with these 5 tips to increase productivity levels.
- Take more breaks. While it may sound counterintuitive, taking brief breaks may actually boost your employees’ output. Research indicates taking short breaks while performing long tasks could help maintain productivity levels, whereas working on the same type of task without a break may detrimentally impact performance. Encourage employees to step away from their desk to clear their minds if they’re struggling to remain focused.
- Stop multitasking. Juggling two tasks at a time might seem like an effective way to get more done, but multitasking can actually increase inefficiency. A 2017 study notes that the brain may struggle to keep up when tasks are more complex. The solution? Commit to finishing one task before starting another.
- Sweat it out. Working out can boost endorphins, making your employees happier and more engaged in what they’re doing (as noted above). Studies also show that exercising can help improve productivity. What’s the best way to get moving? Have employees head out for a walk; research shows walking helps spark creativity.
- Sleep better. For optimal health, adults should aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. While it can be tempting to work late into the night—especially if your employees are night owls—encourage them not to. Research has found that the more sleep-deprived employees are, the less productive they’ll be at work.
- Plan ahead. Just as your employees might use a planner to organize their daily tasks, encourage them to use their calendars and plan things out a week in advance. Remind them to schedule one-off meetings with project stakeholders before deadlines sneak up, and to set aside time to work on their most challenging project on Tuesdays (according to a 2013 Accountemps survey, Tuesday is the most productive day of the week).
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.