Employee Fitness Matters - How To Support Support Health In The Workplace

13 min read APR 28, 2024

The average person spends 2,080 hours a year on the job.

And, some quick math will tell you this only accounts for the bare minimum, 40 hours a week.

This much time at work, as many of you can attest, can be a cause of stress in and of itself, especially if your work environment isn’t healthy.

But, spending this many hours a day on the job also means, if your mental or physical health is suffering, so is your work performance and productivity.

Thankfully many employers realize how monumentally important employee health and fitness is to the success of their company.

In other words, when employees are not healthy, a company will suffer.

In fact, employee fitness (mental and physical) affects attendance, cooperation, performance, productivity, company morale, and much more.

And, this is why companies are beginning to make the health of their employees a top priority.

So, here we’d like to examine the importance of employee health and fitness in the workplace, as well as some ways to implement healthy changes and programs to help everyone succeed, both employers and employees!

Health In The Workplace Matters

If you’re struggling with mental health issues, it’s likely that your relationships will suffer, homelife may become strained, leisure time can be diminished, and your work duties tend to weigh heavy.

The same is true of physical health.

When physical health concerns or problems arise, your life changes.

You aren’t able to do the things you once enjoyed. You may have to alter your schedule, miss work, and even if you’re still showing up each day, you may not be as efficient as you once were.

Unfortunately, the above descriptions aren’t just simple opinions, as research confirms, poor physical and/or mental health can affect all areas of our lives, including workplace interactions, productivity, and performance.

So whether you’re an employee or an employer, you can’t avoid it - health and fitness matters!

And, here are just a few areas where we find this to be true…

1- Improves Performance/Productivity

Employees who exercise regularly not only improve their physical health, but mental health also improves when fitness is a routine part of one’s lifestyle. And, this has been proven to both improve performance and boost productivity in the workplace.

Those employees who exercise regularly typically experience greater mental clarity, improved concentration and creativity, and they have greater energy to engage and perform in a work setting.

Physical activity also boosts your ability to handle stress, which improves workplace experiences as well.

Employees who exercise are said to enjoy their jobs more, and they’re able to more effectively contribute to goals and tasks.

2- Reduces Healthcare Costs

Many companies provide healthcare for their employees as a service or benefit. This has a large price tag, of course, but most businesses (thankfully) recognize this as a necessity.

The thing is, that price tag is highest when employees are unhealthy.

And, experts have determined that unhealthy lifestyles, which contribute to disease, account for 70-90 percent of healthcare expenditures.

In fact, it’s estimated that lifestyle related diseases cost American businesses more than $1 trillion due to lost productivity!

3- Fosters Teamwork

Healthy employees work well together.

Even better? Those companies which offer or incorporate staff fitness programs are effectively fostering teamwork.

Studies show when staff members work out together, they get to know one another better, they improve relationships (with one another), and then this translates to:

  • improved interactions
  • decreased stress levels
  • employee accountability
  • support amongst employees and employers
  • an environment of collaboration

4- Boosts Morale

When employees are mentally and physically healthy, particularly those who prioritize physical activity and healthy nutrition, they have more energy, they’re more alert and focused, and as we mentioned earlier, this boosts productivity.

But, these benefits also work to boost morale.

A negative outlook and mindset in the workplace can be incredibly damaging, so fostering a positive mindset is crucial.

And, when employees feel good, the entire workplace environment changes…for the better.

This is thought to be linked to perspective, as many of you can attest that a healthy lifestyle can lead to a healthy outlook, and this spills over into workplace life as well, contributing to a greater sense of camaraderie and a healthy, positive environment.

5- Attracts (And Keeps) High Quality Employees

Companies that focus on the health and wellness of their employees, specifically those which offer benefits that seek to improve mental and physical fitness, are proven to attract the most qualified, talented, and creative individuals.

As such a focus then equally improves workplace positivity, productivity, support, and teamwork, these environments also tend to have higher employee retention rates.

6- Reduces Stress

Have you ever felt stressed or overwhelmed, decided to go for a walk to clear your mind, and found that you felt better mentally, emotionally, and physically, after said walk?

If you answered ‘yes’ to the question above, then you know firsthand that physical activity is a powerful tool for reducing stress.

And, those people who engage in regular physical activity know this is an important tool to aid in reducing stress across all facets of life, including the workplace.

Any job, whether it be from responsibilities or the atmosphere itself, can add stress to our lives.

And, stress can cause a variety of adverse affects on our health.

Employees that incorporate actions which improve mental and physical health, including regular exercise and proper nutrition, are proven to better handle work stress, resulting in greater productivity and better overall health and wellness.

7- Cuts Down On Absences

This might be a no-brainer, but when employees aren’t healthy, they don’t show up to work as often.

On the flip side of that, when employees are mentally and physically healthy, they take fewer sick days.

Companies that focus on employee health and well being (especially those with an assigned department attentive to such needs), may reduce work absences by up to 80%.

8- Improves Work Safety

Some jobs demand a great amount of physical labor, while others may involve little physical assertion where employees find themselves stationary most of the work day.

While the latter situations seem to be on the opposite end of the physical exertion spectrum, employees and employers benefit in both instances when physical fitness is a priority.

Those jobs which necessitate sedentary work can result in neck and back strain, headaches, weight gain, and other negative health outcomes.

Encouraging and supporting physical activity can help employees combat these negative health potentials.

Then, in the case of physical labor, the need for physical fitness is just as great, as those employees who regularly incorporate exercise, and especially those who are physically fit, are able to perform activities with greater ease, resulting in fewer injuries and a (physically) safer environment overall.

When an employee is physically fit, they reduce the risk of injury as they generally have more energy, can perform tasks without tiring as easily, recover more quickly from overexertion, and don’t have to exert as much overall energy to complete workplace responsibilities.

So now, as each of the above listed benefits to both employers and employees can be obtained through an emphasis on health and wellness in the workplace, how can employers fully support the physical and mental health of those they depend on most?

00 Hours
00 Minutes
00 Seconds

Get out Limited Offer on Espresso

  • Smooth Flavor
  • Low Acid

Get our new Espresso Coffee at amazing price

Use Code: NEW20

Get the Offer

How To Support Physical And Mental Health In The Workplace

There are a variety of ways to support mental and physical health in the workplace.

But, such efforts require details, organization, and a bit of planning to be effective.

For example, it’s important to make employees fully aware of any programs you offer which are meant to improve health and wellness.

It’s then equally important to educate employees on the benefits of participating in such programs.

Of course, you also need to provide (in some way) quality opportunities or services allowing your employees to participate in such health-enhancing measures.

And, it certainly doesn’t hurt to offer incentives for employee participation in such endeavors either!

So, to close things out today, we’d like to list some ways employers can support the health of their employees. And, to do so, we’ve grouped such efforts into the following categories: education, encouragement, opportunity, and action.


As an employer, it’s not enough to include a few obscure opportunities for employees to improve their mental and physical well being.

If you truly want your workplace environment to be the best it can be, supporting the fitness of your workforce begins with education.

How can you do this?

  • Seek to provide lectures, seminars, literature, apps, training, etc. to educate your employees on the importance of proper nutrition, fitness, mental health, etc.
  • Include safety information sessions showcasing proper attire, form, posture, etc.
  • Be sure to make your employees aware (through emails, fliers, meetings, and more) of the opportunities available to them regarding any health-promoting programs provided or recommended by your company.
  • Instruct employees on the need for, and benefit of, wellness both on the job and for overall health in life.


Now that you’ve educated your employees regarding the importance of caring for their bodies, physically, mentally, and emotionally, seek to encourage your staff members to participate in such programs or opportunities.

There are a variety of ways you can encourage participation in such programs, and certainly, educating employees on the benefits of such efforts is a form of encouragement. But, consider taking this a step further by incorporating any of the following:

  • Seek to establish strategies or policies in your company that promote health. By doing so, this both educates and inherently encourages employees to participate.
  • Support employees in their fitness or health journey by providing avenues of honest and open communication regarding physical and mental health.
  • Whether through management, human resources, or other departments, making communication available to employees regarding their personal health can greatly encourage participation.
  • Be sure to cultivate a workplace environment free of criticism or judgment. Such an environment organically removes any discouraging roadblock that may prevent employees from taking advantage of opportunities to improve their health.
  • Consider providing incentives for employees to participate in health and wellness programs offered through the company.

This can occur in a number of ways, but here’s one example I became familiar with (and benefited greatly from) through my spouse’s employer:

My husband works for Toyota, and one way they encourage overall health and wellness is by allowing (and encouraging) employees and their families to download a company supported app which educates, provides, tracks, and incentivizes physical, mental, and emotional fitness.

Each fall, Toyota employees (and their families) are encouraged to complete a wellness screening in the app to begin a year’s worth of efforts and progress.

Within the app, multiple seminars, literature, videos, small tips, and definitions are offered, including a wide range of topics such as sleep, breathwork, addiction, physical activity, proper nutrition, safety, relationships, and on and on.

As an incentive for members to participate and engage in these actions, points can be accumulated as you complete items. For instance, you can sync fitness trackers and earn points as you exercise. You can watch mental health videos, do guided meditation and breathwork, reach sleep goals, download healthy recipes, complete sessions with health coaches, volunteer in your community, etc…all of which result in points earned and accumulated.

Then, once you’ve accumulated a specified number of points, these can be exchanged for gift cards or services for/from popular retailers.

Such incentives offer a greater level of motivation, and then as employees engage and improve their health, these habits build, improving the lives and lifestyles of employees, their families, and in turn the company as a whole.

Of course, this is just one example of how to implement such a program, the opportunities are endless here.


Perhaps this item should be listed first?

But, no matter where we list it, without providing opportunities for your employees to improve their health and wellness, none of this matters.

In other words, you can educate your employees all day long about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, you can even encourage them to incorporate specific actions into their daily routine, but if you do not provide opportunities for them to improve their physical and mental health within your company, you’re missing the mark.

Whether you have in-house opportunities or you outsource them, to truly support the health and fitness of your workforce, you have to get involved.

  • Provide ample work breaks where you can encourage employees to take a mental break. Also, provide breaks which allow for a few moments of fresh air or a walk around the block.
  • If you’re able, provide a space within your company where employees can exercise before or after work (or during lunch breaks, etc).
  • If you’re not able to provide a space for fitness, seek to include gym membership choices for employees (or at least work with local fitness centers to provide discounted rates for your staff).
  • Provide real opportunities for employees to get needed health screenings, follow-up care, etc.
  • Include assistance programs that employees can take advantage of for confidential counseling services, mental health resources, etc.


And lastly, if you really desire to support the physical and mental health of your employees, you’ve got to take action.

  • If you provide a cafeteria or vending machines for your employees, make sure the options offered are nutritious, those which do not hinder health but support it.
  • Prior to the beginning of a work shift, lead team members in helpful stretching exercises to prepare them for the tasks at hand.
  • As mentioned above, if able, have a dedicated space for employees to work out. And, might I add, this doesn’t have to be extensive.
  • I worked at a bank during the summer months while I was in college, and though the break room was very small, they had an exercise bike available for use in the room. A co-worker and I made some fond memories when we’d take our lunch breaks together, sharing a healthy meal and taking turns getting in quick sweat sessions on that bike!
  • Plan sufficient time for employees on breaks so that they can enjoy a few moments of fresh air outdoors, if able.
  • Be sure to include a generous number of sick days, coupled with understanding for both employees and any needs they may have regarding their personal lives/families.
  • Be understanding of any needs that arise regarding mental health as well. Even seek to provide a calm space for those employees who may simply need to retreat for a moment, including in-house counseling or therapy opportunities.
  • Of course, be sure to provide quality medical, dental, and vision insurance for employees, but also seek to include holistic care, etc.
  • Then, aside from insurance, also seek to include opportunities for annual employee health screenings, specifically for preventative care.
  • Provide a platform or avenue where employees can express any concerns or list suggestions to management regarding ways their physical and mental health can be supported in the workplace.
  • If able, offer remote work opportunities in an effort to incorporate flexibility and understanding regarding health needs.


Truly Revolutionary Coffee. You'll Love The Taste To The Last Drop!

Check out Lifeboost Coffee Espresso.

Medical Disclaimer
This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Charles Livingston nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.

Headshot of Becky Livingston Vance
Becky Livingston Vance Content writer

Becky is a mother, educator, and content writer for Lifeboost Coffee. She has had three years’ experience as a writer, and in that time she has enjoyed creatively composing articles and ebooks covering the topics of coffee, health and fitness, education, recipes, and relationships.


Drop a Comment

All comments are moderated before being published