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Good Practice Guide

Promoting physical health

Organisations can use health promotion activities to support employee physical health and additionally help improve individual level resilience and coping.

Physical activity programs are often implemented as part of a broader well-being strategy to help individuals with resilience and coping. Such programs allow employees an outlet to physically release tension from work, to maintain fitness and physical health and to improve mood. There are several significant and well-documented positive outcomes of physical activity on individual well-being outcomes in employees including improved physical health, reduced risk for depression, anxiety, stress, and reduced symptoms of fatigue.

This approach may be particularly relevant to organisations and roles that require staff to remain sitting for long periods of time. Physical exercise can help re-energise staff and promote physical and psychological well-being. Further these programs can have implications for organisational outcomes including reduced absenteeism and presenteeism.

Organisational engagement in physical activity programs can range from corporate fitness memberships to promotion of incidental activity initiatives, such as step challenges, walking meetings or walk to work initiatives. It is important that organisations make these programs as accessible as possible. For example, for many employees it is not reasonable to attend classes after work due to family commitments and commute times. To ensure maximum uptake, consult with staff about what type of physical activity programs they’d like and when would be most convenient to ensure the organisation achieves maximum return on investment.

Further reading

The Healthy Workplaces website is designed for employers and includes a range of information and resources to assist with making workplaces healthier.