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UNITING THE WORLD OF FITNESS
Health Club Management

Health Club Management

features

Policy: Active workforce

UK Active’s Alex Lucas explains the findings of a new report which shows how the fitness and leisure sector can help transform workforce activity levels in the new hybrid workplace

Published in Health Club Management 2022 issue 6
Activity benefits employees and employers alike / Photo: Shutterstock/Southworks
Activity benefits employees and employers alike / Photo: Shutterstock/Southworks
New research from Deloitte shows the industry could save US$91.22bn in lost productivity and healthcare costs globally every year

The total cost to the UK of physically inactive workers – measured through healthcare costs and productivity loss – is up to US$20.8bn (£17bn) annually, according to a new research report Economic Health and Societal Wellbeing: Quantifying the Impact of the Global Health and Fitness Sector (www.hcmmag.com/GHFA), published this month. A fitter workforce could reverse this situation, saving the UK economy £17bn annually.

This groundbreaking study was carried out by Deloitte for the The Global Health and Fitness Alliance (GHFA), with support from IHRSA, and surveyed 90 per cent of the global health and fitness market across 46 countries, finding a total impact of US$91.22bn.

The figure underlines not only the huge impact physical inactivity has on our economy, but also the major opportunities associated with having a more active workforce.

New UK Active report
On the same topic, earlier this month, UK Active published The Active Workforce, its inaugural research report focusing on workplace physical activity opportunities and needs in small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and the role the fitness and leisure sector – among others – plays in this.

The research indicates that of the SMEs surveyed, 44 per cent do not currently provide opportunities for their staff to be physically active during the day and 32.4 per cent don’t feel their organisation has the support it needs to do this.

Of the SMEs that do put opportunities in place, there was a preference for low-cost, easy-to-implement support, such as the Cycle to Work Scheme (39.7 per cent) or team physical activity challenges and competitions (22.1 per cent).

More traditional forms of support from the sector, such as discounted gym memberships or providing exercise equipment, were some of the opportunities least taken-up by SMEs (at 7.4 per cent and 10.3 per cent respectively), due to the associated cost and the perception that the smaller size of their organisation made them unsuitable for the offer.

When asked where support should come from in improving workplace physical activity, 18.6 per cent of SMEs stated the physical activity, fitness and leisure sector, then government health bodies and membership bodies (23.6 per cent and 20.1 per cent respectively).

Partnership with Sport England
The findings of The Active Workforce report are the culmination of a research consultation conducted by the UK Active Research Institute in partnership with Sport England.

The report makes eight recommendations to support opportunities for employees to be active during the working day, with these targeted at government, health sector organisations, business umbrella groups, the fitness and leisure sector, and SME employers.

Unlike most of the current research around workplace physical activity, this research specifically focused on SMEs because, while they account for 99.9 per cent of UK businesses – and roughly half of the UKs private sector turnover – they have less access to, or means to provide, opportunities for physical activity.

Many known solutions to the business community are for large corporate-based organisations, yet SMEs are often faced with smaller budgets, more financial challenges and may actually need more support in this area.

This is especially the case since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, during which time the nation’s physical and mental health has been hard hit.

Research already exists showing the positive link between physical activity and good mental health, and that being more active at work has multiple benefits. It can make us feel more satisfied about our work, improve overall perceptions of wellbeing at work, boost productivity and focus and act as a protective factor against the prolonged periods of sedentary time, or musculoskeletal problems we may face when working in certain roles.

Throughout our lifetimes, we spend a lot of time at work – nine years on average. Therefore, we need work to be a place that allows both our mental and physical health to flourish and be maintained, instead of restricted.

Who’s ultimately responsible?
But how much of a priority is workplace health for policymakers? In the UK, the government says ‘improving wellbeing, healthy life expectancy and productivity’, and ‘reducing health inequalities by 2030’ are major objectives within its ‘levelling up’ agenda. Former UK chancellor of the exchequer, Rishi Sunak, told business leaders at the CBI Annual Dinner in May 2022: “If we want to raise productivity in this country we need to do more to support those already in work. We need [employers] to invest more, train more, and innovate more. Our firm plan is to reduce and reform your taxes to encourage you to do all those things. That is the path to higher productivity, higher living standards, and a more prosperous and secure future.”

With this in mind, The Active Workforce highlights that, while a variety of parties from a national to a local level have a role to play in supporting workplace physical activity, government has a specific role in terms of providing financial support to SMEs through incentivisation and tax relief.

This would encourage and facilitate businesses with smaller budgets to invest in workplace physical activity opportunities for employees.

The report recommends the government further supports opportunities for SME employees to be active during working hours by considering the expansion of existing schemes, such as Cycle to Work, to include options that support home working (eg, access to home physical activity equipment and gym membership) as well as office-based working.

Opportunities to support our productivity and wellbeing through engaging in regular physical activity have been drastically reduced by the pandemic, and the shift to hybrid working. Businesses clearly have a role to play by stepping up and supporting work environments – whether in a physical location or remotely – that allow employees to take the time to look after their own health.

Our research findings indicate senior leaders can play a powerful role in shaping workplace culture and – through role modelling and giving permission and flexibility – empowering employees to take time for themselves to be active and keep well.

The opportunity for our sector
As our findings highlight, smaller businesses need help. Our sector is in a prime position to offer expertise and relevant services and products to SMEs, however, SMEs surveyed and interviewed felt current workplace physical activity solutions offered by our sector are not applicable for them.

The Active Workforce report highlights there is in fact plenty of work going on within our sector to provide workplace health products for smaller businesses, including collaborations with gyms and aggregators, and specially-funded workplace wellness initiatives working with wellbeing charities.

Nonetheless, there’s a need to ensure the services the sector offers are fully accessible to SMEs and meet their needs. Specifically, two recommendations have been developed by UK Active for fitness operators and providers to consider:

1. Firstly, improve awareness of existing services among SMEs through targeted marketing to these businesses, working in collaboration with partners to improve local reach and working with UK Active to showcase the services the sector can offer.

2. Secondly, think holistically about workplace offers – for example, consider partnerships with broader wellbeing service providers to integrate physical activity into holistic wellbeing packages for businesses, as well as offering hybrid models of delivery.

The breadth of The Active Workforce recommendations point to the important role that different sectors and organisations have in this agenda, and hence the need for partnerships to facilitate collaboration and support our sector to put the recommendations in place.

Be part of the levelling up agenda
As the trade body for the sector, UK Active has always looked to champion the role the sector plays in supporting the nation’s health, while facilitating opportunities for it to grow. This report positions the sector and the role of workplace physical activity as a key part of achieving the government’s agenda of ‘levelling up’ population health and wellbeing. There’s a clear opportunity to showcase the best of what our sector can offer, and further demonstrate the important role it can play by continuing to connect services with local businesses.

Partnerships between business and local leisure is one way to do this – and it’s also one of the many ways UK Active can support its membership and help the sector to grow. The creation of opportunities that allow the fitness and leisure sector and the business community to co-design and interact could maximise the exposure of the sector’s services, and SMEs’ access to these services.

This research provides the first stepping-stone for collaboration and partnership between our sector and business in this area. However, the conversation has only just started and we’ll continue to help shape and grow this area of work through a process of co-creation and with direct input from SMEs and our sector. Together, we can begin to drive positive change for the UK’s workforce.

Get involved: email [email protected]

Get the report: www.hcmmag.com/ActiveWorkforce

Workplace wellness checklist
Connect your health club with local businesses to extend your reach

• Improve awareness of your existing services through targeted marketing to local SMEs

• Make the economic case for investment in workplace wellness, using the Deloitte report

• Be aware that senior leaders in SMEs can play a powerful role in shaping workplace culture

• Influence them to empower employees to take time for themselves to be active and keep well

• Work with partners, such as Active partnerships, to improve local reach into SMEs

• Think holistically about the workplace offers you develop

• Consider partnerships with broader wellbeing service providers

• Offer hybrid models of delivery and toolkits to local businesses for home workouts

• Connect your service with local businesses using your networks, such as your existing members

• Create opportunities for business and operators to connect, co-design products and programmes and to interact

Alex Lucas

Employers must allow teams enough time to look after their health / Photo: Shutterstock/Monkey Business Images
Employers must allow teams enough time to look after their health / Photo: Shutterstock/Monkey Business Images
Being active at work improves productivity and job satisfaction / Photo: shutterstock/anek.soowannaphoom
Being active at work improves productivity and job satisfaction / Photo: shutterstock/anek.soowannaphoom
The Cycle to Work scheme is popular with SMEs / Photo: Shutterstock/BGStock72
The Cycle to Work scheme is popular with SMEs / Photo: Shutterstock/BGStock72
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2022/91994_315246.jpg
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features

Policy: Active workforce

UK Active’s Alex Lucas explains the findings of a new report which shows how the fitness and leisure sector can help transform workforce activity levels in the new hybrid workplace

Published in Health Club Management 2022 issue 6
Activity benefits employees and employers alike / Photo: Shutterstock/Southworks
Activity benefits employees and employers alike / Photo: Shutterstock/Southworks
New research from Deloitte shows the industry could save US$91.22bn in lost productivity and healthcare costs globally every year

The total cost to the UK of physically inactive workers – measured through healthcare costs and productivity loss – is up to US$20.8bn (£17bn) annually, according to a new research report Economic Health and Societal Wellbeing: Quantifying the Impact of the Global Health and Fitness Sector (www.hcmmag.com/GHFA), published this month. A fitter workforce could reverse this situation, saving the UK economy £17bn annually.

This groundbreaking study was carried out by Deloitte for the The Global Health and Fitness Alliance (GHFA), with support from IHRSA, and surveyed 90 per cent of the global health and fitness market across 46 countries, finding a total impact of US$91.22bn.

The figure underlines not only the huge impact physical inactivity has on our economy, but also the major opportunities associated with having a more active workforce.

New UK Active report
On the same topic, earlier this month, UK Active published The Active Workforce, its inaugural research report focusing on workplace physical activity opportunities and needs in small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and the role the fitness and leisure sector – among others – plays in this.

The research indicates that of the SMEs surveyed, 44 per cent do not currently provide opportunities for their staff to be physically active during the day and 32.4 per cent don’t feel their organisation has the support it needs to do this.

Of the SMEs that do put opportunities in place, there was a preference for low-cost, easy-to-implement support, such as the Cycle to Work Scheme (39.7 per cent) or team physical activity challenges and competitions (22.1 per cent).

More traditional forms of support from the sector, such as discounted gym memberships or providing exercise equipment, were some of the opportunities least taken-up by SMEs (at 7.4 per cent and 10.3 per cent respectively), due to the associated cost and the perception that the smaller size of their organisation made them unsuitable for the offer.

When asked where support should come from in improving workplace physical activity, 18.6 per cent of SMEs stated the physical activity, fitness and leisure sector, then government health bodies and membership bodies (23.6 per cent and 20.1 per cent respectively).

Partnership with Sport England
The findings of The Active Workforce report are the culmination of a research consultation conducted by the UK Active Research Institute in partnership with Sport England.

The report makes eight recommendations to support opportunities for employees to be active during the working day, with these targeted at government, health sector organisations, business umbrella groups, the fitness and leisure sector, and SME employers.

Unlike most of the current research around workplace physical activity, this research specifically focused on SMEs because, while they account for 99.9 per cent of UK businesses – and roughly half of the UKs private sector turnover – they have less access to, or means to provide, opportunities for physical activity.

Many known solutions to the business community are for large corporate-based organisations, yet SMEs are often faced with smaller budgets, more financial challenges and may actually need more support in this area.

This is especially the case since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, during which time the nation’s physical and mental health has been hard hit.

Research already exists showing the positive link between physical activity and good mental health, and that being more active at work has multiple benefits. It can make us feel more satisfied about our work, improve overall perceptions of wellbeing at work, boost productivity and focus and act as a protective factor against the prolonged periods of sedentary time, or musculoskeletal problems we may face when working in certain roles.

Throughout our lifetimes, we spend a lot of time at work – nine years on average. Therefore, we need work to be a place that allows both our mental and physical health to flourish and be maintained, instead of restricted.

Who’s ultimately responsible?
But how much of a priority is workplace health for policymakers? In the UK, the government says ‘improving wellbeing, healthy life expectancy and productivity’, and ‘reducing health inequalities by 2030’ are major objectives within its ‘levelling up’ agenda. Former UK chancellor of the exchequer, Rishi Sunak, told business leaders at the CBI Annual Dinner in May 2022: “If we want to raise productivity in this country we need to do more to support those already in work. We need [employers] to invest more, train more, and innovate more. Our firm plan is to reduce and reform your taxes to encourage you to do all those things. That is the path to higher productivity, higher living standards, and a more prosperous and secure future.”

With this in mind, The Active Workforce highlights that, while a variety of parties from a national to a local level have a role to play in supporting workplace physical activity, government has a specific role in terms of providing financial support to SMEs through incentivisation and tax relief.

This would encourage and facilitate businesses with smaller budgets to invest in workplace physical activity opportunities for employees.

The report recommends the government further supports opportunities for SME employees to be active during working hours by considering the expansion of existing schemes, such as Cycle to Work, to include options that support home working (eg, access to home physical activity equipment and gym membership) as well as office-based working.

Opportunities to support our productivity and wellbeing through engaging in regular physical activity have been drastically reduced by the pandemic, and the shift to hybrid working. Businesses clearly have a role to play by stepping up and supporting work environments – whether in a physical location or remotely – that allow employees to take the time to look after their own health.

Our research findings indicate senior leaders can play a powerful role in shaping workplace culture and – through role modelling and giving permission and flexibility – empowering employees to take time for themselves to be active and keep well.

The opportunity for our sector
As our findings highlight, smaller businesses need help. Our sector is in a prime position to offer expertise and relevant services and products to SMEs, however, SMEs surveyed and interviewed felt current workplace physical activity solutions offered by our sector are not applicable for them.

The Active Workforce report highlights there is in fact plenty of work going on within our sector to provide workplace health products for smaller businesses, including collaborations with gyms and aggregators, and specially-funded workplace wellness initiatives working with wellbeing charities.

Nonetheless, there’s a need to ensure the services the sector offers are fully accessible to SMEs and meet their needs. Specifically, two recommendations have been developed by UK Active for fitness operators and providers to consider:

1. Firstly, improve awareness of existing services among SMEs through targeted marketing to these businesses, working in collaboration with partners to improve local reach and working with UK Active to showcase the services the sector can offer.

2. Secondly, think holistically about workplace offers – for example, consider partnerships with broader wellbeing service providers to integrate physical activity into holistic wellbeing packages for businesses, as well as offering hybrid models of delivery.

The breadth of The Active Workforce recommendations point to the important role that different sectors and organisations have in this agenda, and hence the need for partnerships to facilitate collaboration and support our sector to put the recommendations in place.

Be part of the levelling up agenda
As the trade body for the sector, UK Active has always looked to champion the role the sector plays in supporting the nation’s health, while facilitating opportunities for it to grow. This report positions the sector and the role of workplace physical activity as a key part of achieving the government’s agenda of ‘levelling up’ population health and wellbeing. There’s a clear opportunity to showcase the best of what our sector can offer, and further demonstrate the important role it can play by continuing to connect services with local businesses.

Partnerships between business and local leisure is one way to do this – and it’s also one of the many ways UK Active can support its membership and help the sector to grow. The creation of opportunities that allow the fitness and leisure sector and the business community to co-design and interact could maximise the exposure of the sector’s services, and SMEs’ access to these services.

This research provides the first stepping-stone for collaboration and partnership between our sector and business in this area. However, the conversation has only just started and we’ll continue to help shape and grow this area of work through a process of co-creation and with direct input from SMEs and our sector. Together, we can begin to drive positive change for the UK’s workforce.

Get involved: email [email protected]

Get the report: www.hcmmag.com/ActiveWorkforce

Workplace wellness checklist
Connect your health club with local businesses to extend your reach

• Improve awareness of your existing services through targeted marketing to local SMEs

• Make the economic case for investment in workplace wellness, using the Deloitte report

• Be aware that senior leaders in SMEs can play a powerful role in shaping workplace culture

• Influence them to empower employees to take time for themselves to be active and keep well

• Work with partners, such as Active partnerships, to improve local reach into SMEs

• Think holistically about the workplace offers you develop

• Consider partnerships with broader wellbeing service providers

• Offer hybrid models of delivery and toolkits to local businesses for home workouts

• Connect your service with local businesses using your networks, such as your existing members

• Create opportunities for business and operators to connect, co-design products and programmes and to interact

Alex Lucas

Employers must allow teams enough time to look after their health / Photo: Shutterstock/Monkey Business Images
Employers must allow teams enough time to look after their health / Photo: Shutterstock/Monkey Business Images
Being active at work improves productivity and job satisfaction / Photo: shutterstock/anek.soowannaphoom
Being active at work improves productivity and job satisfaction / Photo: shutterstock/anek.soowannaphoom
The Cycle to Work scheme is popular with SMEs / Photo: Shutterstock/BGStock72
The Cycle to Work scheme is popular with SMEs / Photo: Shutterstock/BGStock72
https://www.leisureopportunities.co.uk/images/2022/91994_315246.jpg
The fitness and activity sectors have the power to transform the workforce and save employers and the economy billions, according to a new study
Latest News
Ohm Fitness, a new franchised studio concept, has opened its first location in Scottsdale, Arizona. ...
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Easton Leisure Centre in the UK has announced a 100 per cent reduction in heating ...
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The Gym Group saw its membership grow by 10 per cent during the first six ...
Latest News
Mindbody has announced that Fritz Lanman will become the company’s new CEO from 3 September ...
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Parkour Generations has joined forces with Gymbox to bring parkour into the UK’s mainstream fitness ...
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Amazon has acquired primary healthcare organisation One Medical in a US$3.9bn deal that will see ...
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Featured supplier news
Featured supplier news: Peloton Commercial partners with Oracle Red Bull Racing to power high-performance fitness and wellbeing facility
Operating at the extreme edge of performance, a race team requires every element and working part to function at its very best – and that includes its people.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: New £42m Moorways Sports Village to open on 21 May
Everyone Active will open Moorways Sports Village to the public on Saturday 21 May with a grand opening weekend – in time for the half term holidays.
Featured operator news
Featured operator news: Parkwood Leisure celebrates four award wins and named Outstanding Organisation of the Year at the 2022 ukactive Awards
It was a night to remember at the 2022 ukactive Awards for Parkwood Leisure, as the leisure facilities operator picked up four awards.
Video Gallery
Total Vibration Solutions / Floors 4 Gyms / TVS Sports Surfaces
Mindbody, Inc
Sport Alliance GmbH
Company profiles
Company profile: Indigofitness Ltd
We Create Training Spaces! We've been designing and delivering high quality training spaces for almost ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Excelsior Development Technology
We develop staff that enhance the culture, experience and reputation of your business which in ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Featured press releases
Featured press releases: The Giro d’Italia partners with Technogym for the first indoor cycling jersey
Here’s the first Giro d’Italia indoor jersey, which has been conceived thanks to the collaboration between Technogym and Castelli, both partners of Giro d’Italia Virtual.
Featured press releases
Featured press releases: 1Life launch youth initiative to support budding athletes achieve their sporting dreams
1Life is supporting promising young athletes achieve their sporting dreams through free use of its public access facilities and support from two Team GB Olympic stars
Directory
Fitness equipment
A Panatta Sport Srl: Fitness equipment
On demand
Fitness On Demand: On demand
Lockers/interior design
Safe Space Lockers Ltd: Lockers/interior design
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Whole body cryotherapy
Art of Cryo: Whole body cryotherapy
Skincare
Sothys: Skincare
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Architects/designers
Zynk Design Consultants: Architects/designers
Salt therapy products
Himalayan Source: Salt therapy products
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Property & Tenders
Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire
Carmarthenshire County Council
Property & Tenders
Runcorn
Halton Borough Council
Property & Tenders
Diary dates
12-13 Sep 2022
Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs® Resort, Lake Buena Vista, United States
Diary dates
21-21 Sep 2022
Various, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
25-28 Oct 2022
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
25-28 Oct 2022
Ibiza, Ibiza, Spain
Diary dates
01-07 Dec 2022
tbc, Dunedin, New Zealand
Diary dates
17-18 Mar 2023
Tobacco Dock, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
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