Winning strategy – the benefits of sports for employee mental health

Winning strategy – the benefits of sports for employee mental health

In the words of Curtis Mayfield, as we ‘Move on Up’ towards the end of the working week it is important for both employers and employees to consider the causal connection between engaging in physical activity and positive mental health. Research has proven that individuals engaging in regular physical activity can alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety, reduce stress levels, improve their mood and help to prevent physical illness. Mental health and wellbeing has been on many employers’ minds, and many have taken conscious action to promote a healthy balance for their employees.

So why care about mental health?

Demonstrating that you, as an employer, care about the wellbeing of your people is important for multiple reasons:

  • Productivity and performance: Good mental health improves motivation and enables employees to perform their tasks efficiently. Mental health issues like stress, anxiety and depression can significantly reduce concentration, energy levels and decision making skills, leading to lower productivity.
  • Employee retention: Any person who feels supported in their environment is more likely to stay in their community/workplace than one who is not.
  • Company culture and brand image: In the current competitive business environment, it’s important to maintain a strong brand image, one way to do this is to promote the people within the company, showcasing the professional skills and expert minds. People who are happy to work at the company and who feel supported are more likely to positively advertise the firm, bringing in more clients and solidifying existing customer relations.
  • Legal and ethical responsibility: Employers have a duty of care to provide a safe and healthy work environment for their employees. Mental health is one of the factors which affects health and safety in the workplace, therefore it must be taken into account.

Prioritising mental health in the workplace is essential for the overall success and sustainability of any organisation. It creates a productive, sustainable, and overall a positive working environment which brings a series of tangible and intangible benefits to your company.

What are we doing and what can you do?

Having established the importance of investing resources into the mental health of employees, the next step is understanding how exactly that can be done. Physical activity is a powerful tool for enhancing mental health. Employers who promote and encourage their staff to incorporate regular physical activity into their daily routines, will be taking a proactive step towards fostering a healthier workforce, benefiting both mind and body.

During May, we focused on a series of mental health awareness activities as part of Mental Health Awareness Week – many of them are related to getting out of the office and moving:

  • Organised group walks or runs: Getting staff members together before or after work or even during their lunch break, for a group walk or run can be an extremely effective way to get them moving and away from their desks. Being exposed to nature and being outside has been proven to reduce the levels of cortisone, a stress hormone, and increase serotonin, which can improve mood and reduce anxiety and depression symptoms.
  • Online or in person fitness classes: Offering exercise classes such as yoga, aerobics and High-intensity interval training (HIIT) classes during lunch breaks or after work can make exercise both convenient and social for employees in all locations – at the office or from the comfort of their home.
  • Ditching the lift and taking the stairs: One of the easiest ways to increase physical activity is by taking the stairs in the office, if staff members are able to do so. Studies show that climbing stairs instead of using the lift is associated with lowering the risk of heart disease including heart attacks, heart failure and strokes.
  • Step count challenges: Introducing fitness challenges such as a Team Step Count Challenge will help make movement fun and give it a purpose. A live leaderboard can motivate employees to get involved, particularly those with a more competitive spirit. Along with that, it creates a sense of shared purpose and promotes socialising between employees, improving the overall company culture.

Anderson Strathern is committed to fostering a working environment that places significant importance on employee mental health and wellbeing. Although engaging in physical exercise is the emphasis for this month, we don’t all need to move every day and it’s important to take a break and rest when needed!

We’ve taken various steps across its offices during Mental Health Awareness Week, and throughout the rest of May too. We will continue to do so for the next few weeks, to encourage staff to incorporate regular physical activity into their daily routines.

We strongly urge businesses to consider the impact of mental health on their employees and overall productivity, invest in wellbeing, and enjoy the benefits of these activities.

If you have any questions regarding promoting employee wellbeing at your company, please reach out to Reece Ashmore.

You might also be interested in –


Legal Disclaimer

Stay up to date with the latest news and insights

Sign up now