Prevention rather than cure: managing your ‘people-risk’ by promoting wellbeing

Could promoting regular activity increase employee engagement and retention, and create a more resilient workforce?

There’s a lot of talk about wellbeing in the workplace, but what does that really mean? To coincide with today’s National Fitness Day, we’ve looked into the topic a little further to highlight how boosting our physical activity can help reduce our health risks and improve our mental wellbeing. Doing these things will create a happier and healthier workforce.

The increasing physical and mental health challenges

We know that being active can positively benefit both our physical and mental wellbeing. It can also help to prevent and manage over 20 chronic conditions and diseases, including some cancers, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and depression.1

Mental health challenges affect one in four people. Research from the Mental Health Foundation[1] (MHF), shows that protecting our mental health is going to be central for us coping with, and recovering from, the coronavirus pandemic.

A recent study conducted in Northern Ireland in conjunction with the MHF, found that there were clear psychological benefits for the participants engaging in physical activity. These included ‘better decision-making, feeling more clear mentally and being more alert’. Improvements in mood and lower stress levels were also reported.[2]

The study highlighted another interesting observation: the importance of social interaction that often comes with physical activity. For some participants, this was key to its success, making them feel more motivated to continue, and creating a sense of belonging and connectedness.

National Fitness Day

With almost daily updates on the changing regional circumstances as a result of the pandemic, the main focus for most employers we work with is keeping their people connected and productive whilst working from home, the environment where they traditionally switch off from work. One way to do that is through physical activity.

What does this have to do with National Fitness Day? ukactive, a not-for-profit industry association with a vision is to get more people, more active, more often. They are bringing people together across the country in a fun and inclusive way with the theme ‘Fitness Unites Us’. National Fitness Day aims to promote the positive impact physical activity has on society.

Giving the right support

We’re really pleased to see the positive trend of employers increasing their focus on the health and wellbeing of their people over the years. In this time of uncertainty, being aware of the health and wellbeing of your employees is paramount to their happiness. Workplaces can support their people by encouraging physical activity, such as taking regular breaks, and promoting healthy habits.

In conjunction with National Fitness Day, we’ve pulled together some useful links that you might want to share across your business. Finding an activity and exercise that is right for an individual can improve and accelerate both their physical and mental health. From joining in a Pilates or a HIIT session with Partners&, to tips on active meetings and desk exercises, we’ve got something for everyone.

Our team are always on hand to discuss your employee engagement and wellbeing needs. Please get in touch if you have any questions or want to discuss the right strategy for your business.

Useful resources:


[1] https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/

[2] https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/empowering-people-through-physical-activity

Steve Hope

Employee Benefits Director