Spacer Physical Activity @ Work inner page Physical Activity at Work: Bringing Physical Activity into the Workday

Ideas > Policy Level: How Company Policies Can Help Everyone to Be Active

At this level, take some time to  explore how policies, regulations and procedures in your workplace can be tailored or updated to better support physical activity.  Having well-developed policies in place can help sustain the efforts you have made so far, and keep you on track towards having a physically active workplace.

  • Trio in hallwayCommit to workplace physical activity in policy statements and commit funding to physical activity initiatives.

  • Clearly communicating the benefits of being physically active during the workday reinforces the company’s commitment to helping all workers be active. Use meetings, bulletin boards, and communication tools (e.g., newsletters and e-mail) to reach as many employees as possible at least once a year.

  • Offer flex time for physical activity. Invite employees who actively commute to work or exercise at lunch to make up any missed time later in the day.

  • Allow staff to work part-time or provide job share opportunities, so that they can participate in physical activity.

  • Include a physical activity account in your benefit plan to pay for or subsidize fitness memberships, assessments, classes, counselling or instruction.

  • Provide interest-free loans for employees to buy bicycles or good walking shoes/runners.

  • Conduct periodic surveys of staff physical activity preferences, and offer a variety of options to suit those interests and needs.

  • Hire qualified people to lead stretch breaks or physical activity programs or classes. For help in finding accredited fitness leaders, contact the Provincial Fitness Unit of Alberta.

  • Recognize employees who participate in physical activity. Survey employees first to determine how they prefer to be recognized, e.g., through company newsletters, appreciation lunches, rewards and/or thank you notes.

  • Provide child care and other family-friendly amenities during physical activities that occur after work.

  • Avoid scheduling meetings over lunch.

  • Encourage active breaks instead of coffee breaks.

  • Organize active fundraisers. For example, employees could climb the stairs in your building until they reach a set target or take turns riding a stationary bike for 24 hours.

  • Make birthday celebrations active times. Instead of a lunch, invite the birthday person to choose an activity. Options could include a session with a yoga instructor or an evening ski trip.

  • Promote a casual dress day. One study found that employees who dress casually were more physically active.

  • Train managers and senior staff to promote and create awareness of physical activity programs and policies to all staff.

  • Encourage managers and senior staff to be physically active, as their active leadership role can be a positive influence on employees.  

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