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How To Create An Exceptional Office Gym
Wondering whether you should invest in an office gym for your staff? Well, you're in the right place, as today we want to discuss why you should seriously consider adding a gym to the workplace. Not only will this benefit your business, but it will improve the lives of your employees as well.
Offering a staff gym encourages employees to keep fit which can reduce the likelihood of illnesses, diseases, and potential mental health conditions. Done right, not only will this allow employees to be more productive, but can be a great way to develop teamwork, build relationships, and attract or retain top talent.
In this blog, we wanted to cover all the bases when it comes to the process of designing, implementing, and building your very own office gym. Well cover many handy tips on how to keep staff engaged once the gym is built, and key points you should think about whether you're a small business investing in its first space or a large organisation looking to refurbish an old gym.
Table of Contents
- Why an Office Gym
- Planning the Space
- Which Equipment Route Is Right For Me?
- Selecting Equipment
- Keeping Employees Engaged
- Maintenance and Safety
- Cleanliness and Hygiene
- Measuring Impact
- Promoting the Gym
- Future Proofing
Why an Office Gym?
While an office gym can be a significant investment, it will pay for itself over the long term. Employees will see a range of health benefits including increased productivity, reduced stress levels, and improved staff retention. At our very own Origin HQ staff gym we've already seen an impact from a number of these benefits to our own business:
- Improved Productivity: Regular exercise is shown to boost productivity. Offering a fitness space employees want to use will help to increase their energy levels, lower stress, and in turn improve work performance levels.
- Stress Reduction: It's well known exercise relieves stress. Not only does this improve employee health but can help to reduce absenteeism due to illness and create a happier workplace environment.
- Employee Retention and Attraction: Investing in a staff gym shows you care about your employees. In modern offices a lot of employees expect an in-house or gym membership offering as part of their work perks. Doing this is a great way to show you truly value them.
- Encourages team building: An office gym can be great for fostering relationships across your business by bringing people together that wouldn't typically meet. In summary it can be a great way to encourage teamwork and collaboration.
Planning the Space
When choosing an appropriate space there will be a number of factors to consider. First, its crucial to assess the size of the entire space. It needs to be large enough to accommodate your chosen equipment, whilst also providing enough space for people to move freely. No one wants to be cramped!
Taking time to properly plan the layout is a key first step to understanding if the space actually works. It's crucial to leave enough room for each piece of equipment you plan to install without overcrowding the room. The last thing you want to happen when pulling together equipment, is to realise your power rack and dumbbell set wont fit in the same spot together.
If possible, try to ensure the space also has adequate natural lighting and ventilation. Natural lighting can be a great way of adding energy to the space, whilst appropriate ventilation keeps everyone comfortable. Think about noise pollution as well. If the gym is near a main office, consider how you can minimise disruptions to others. Try to put the gym in an area that sees less footfall or by using soundproofing.
Which equipment route is right for me?
As mentioned an office gym isn't a small investment, which is why you should consider all options when choosing equipment. Each office space is unique with different budgets, staff sizes, and equipment needs. Consider exactly what your office requires. Different budgets and spaces require different approaches, here are four of our favourite:
Minimal Approach: Building your first office gym? Only purchase essential bits of gym equipment. We recommend starting small until the gym gains some popularity before adding loads of pieces. Essential items to include would be at least one weight bench, dumbbells set, kettlebells, gym mat, treadmill, resistance band, or foam roller. Space permitting you could also add a power rack, barbell, or weight plates set.
Multi-Use Equipment: A great option can be opting for multi-use equipment that serves multiple functions. For instance, using resistance bands, adjustable benches, or different strength machines can save on costs while still providing a range of versatile workout options for employees.
Leasing or Financing: Consider leasing gym equipment or exploring finance options rather than outright purchasing if your budget is smaller. Leasing can lower initial costs and provide flexibility, while financing allows you to spread payments out over time.
Bulk Discounts and Negotiation: On occasion you may be able to approach equipment suppliers and ask for bulk purchase discounts. When buying equipment in bulk orders certain vendors may offer reduced rates. Negotiating prices or seeking to bundle purchases might also yield cost savings if you have the ability to purchase in larger quantities.
Selecting the gyms equipment is obviously a crucial part of the process. Whether starting small or going all out, strive for a balanced mix of equipment. Speaking with employees can help you to tailor the space based on their preferences. Some may be fitness enthusiasts, whereas others might just be starting their fitness journey. Our recommendation is to start with a modest selection, gradually adding pieces over time to build out a well-equipped office gym.
Strength Training: It goes without saying no gym is complete without a few free weight essentials. This could include dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells, and weight plates. If there's enough space, consider adding in a power rack and weight benches. Don't forget about storage racks either as these will keep things organised.
Functional Equipment: This could include resistance bands, TRX style equipment, medicine balls, and sandbags. These items are versatile across a range of workouts and they require minimal storage space as well.
Multi Functional Machines - If you're looking to offer employees something different try a dual station or multi-functional machine. Dual machines can cover upper and lower body training hitting multiple muscle groups such as biceps/triceps or different leg muscles. If the facility has the space it could even be worth including a 4 stack multi station or Alpha Dual Adjustable Pulley, as these cover a wide range of exercises.
Keeping Employees Engaged
One of the hard parts of a staff gym is there's no 100% guarantee it will be successful. How often do you see offices with a small gym receiving no love, and so it sits unused? Success requires employees are engaged with the gym and the best way to do this is gathering feedback. Try to learn about usage, classes, and challenges so you can then tailor the gym to the workforces needs over time.
By having a continuous feedback loop with employees, it gives them a sense of ownership and involvement in the gym. Creating a supportive environment where fitness is encouraged as a regular part of their daily life. This can go a long way to keeping everyone engaged in the gym. Even if the office isn't full of fitness junkies, there are a few options to try to keep everyone involved.
- Education: Run workshops that help increase knowledge of the benefits of regular exercise if staff aren't fitness focussed. Offer personalised fitness assessments with experts who can develop health plans for employees based on their goals and fitness levels
- Flexible Hours: Everyone works differently so ensuring the gym can be used before, during, and after work hours give everyone an equal chance to workout. From early risers right through to the night owls, everyone can then use the space.
- Organising challenges: Workout streak, step, and monthly fitness challenges with prizes can be a brilliant way to have fun and create motivation between employees. It doesn't always have to be competitive though, so try to make them friendly on occasion. Even go as far as to include prizes to celebrate those who achieve or hit certain milestones.
- Host Events: Depending on interest levels take the gym up a gear with special events. These could include nutrition seminars, yoga classes, or guest PT sessions by fitness experts. Introducing regular workout classes such as yoga, HIIT, or circuit training could also be great. Make sure to consider current fitness levels and preferences in the workplace though. There is no point running a CrossFit style class if no one is really interested in that training style.
- Incentives and Recognition: Implement a reward system or recognition program for consistent gym usage or participation in fitness challenges. Consider small incentives, such as gift cards, extra break time, or recognition in company newsletters.
Maintenance and Safety
Operating an office gym requires maintaining equipment and ensuring a clean, safe, and hygienic workout environment. This is crucial for employee wellness and preventing accidents. First, we recommend scheduling routine inspections to check for loose bolts, worn-out cables, and any signs of damage. Having a regular maintenance schedule and promptly repairing or replacing malfunctioning equipment, ensures the gym stays in the best possible condition.
Secondly, train employees to look after equipment and discuss issue reporting procedures. Display visible guidelines and usage instructions beside each piece of equipment. If you have machines that are electrically powered, ensure they have clearly marked emergency shut-off switches or buttons. Ensure that employees know how to use these and are aware of procedures in case of emergencies.
We also advise enlisting professional equipment servicing, such as our own on a periodic basis. This may include servicing treadmills, bikes, and strength machines to keep them in optimal condition. Make sure to keep servicing and maintenance records so you can identify wear patterns, streamline future maintenance, and meet warranty requirements.
Cleanliness and Hygiene in the Gym
Ensuring equipment lasts as long as possible can be achieved by keeping a regular cleaning schedule for the office gym. This should include wiping and disinfecting high-touch surfaces, handles, and equipment before and after each use. Provide easily accessible cleaning stations with disinfectant sprays, wipes, and paper towels so employees can clean equipment.
Keep the gym floor clean and obstruction free to prevent slips or falls whilst also regularly vacuuming or mopping the floor to maintain cleanliness. To keep a fresh atmosphere maintain good ventilation and ensure proper airflow through the space. Change air filters regularly and schedule professional deep cleaning to sanitise the gym and equipment.
Conducting regular safety inspections is always sensible to address potential hazards such as frayed cables, loose flooring, or faulty electrical connections. By implementing these sort of practices, it will help you to create a safer and more hygienic office gym, but will also reduce the risk of accidents. Ultimately, this creates a more welcoming fitness environment that employees will want to workout in.
Beyond the number of users, measuring diverse metrics is crucial for justifying the investment and understanding the gym's effectiveness. Use various metrics to assess the office gym's impact on employee wellness, which can help you to gain valuable insights that allow you to make more informed decisions on the gym in the future. Here are a few different methods to assess its impact:
Employee Surveys: Surveys are a great way to gather feedback. Ask how the gym has affected their physical health, stress levels, overall job satisfaction, and any suggestions for improvement. Testimonials and personal stories can offer greater reflection into the gym's true impact on their well-being.
Performance Metrics: Analysing productivity metrics, such as output, meeting deadlines, and quality of work can also indicate the gyms success. Reduced sick days or improved presenteeism can all indicate that the gym has had a positive impact on employees and the business. Comparing performances before and after the gym's implementation can help you asses what impact it has had.
Employee Engagement: Use engagement surveys to gauge employee satisfaction. Analyse if the gym is positively impacting overall engagement and staff retention rates. A higher retention rate among employees utilising the gym, may indicate the gym helps to increase employee satisfaction.
Cost-Benefit Analysis: Conduct a cost-benefit analysis by comparing the cost of establishing and maintaining the gym with the savings generated through reduced absenteeism, improved productivity, and increased employee satisfaction. If you're after hard numbers then this factual approach could be a good way of indicating if the investment was worthwhile.
Promoting The Gym
Promoting the gym within the company and sustaining employee interest over the long term requires a strategic approach. If the office isn't full of avid fitness fanatics it may take a bit more time to get things off the ground, but once the ball gets rolling it shouldn't be too difficult to maintain. A few of our favourite strategies include:
Launch Events or Campaign: A great way to promote the gym is to organise a grand opening or launch event to generate excitement among employees. Use this opportunity to introduce the gym's features, offer tours, and explain the benefits to employees.
Ambassador Program: Enlist enthusiastic employees as gym ambassadors or advocates. They can share their positive experiences, encourage others to join, and act as role models to promote gym usage. A great way of doing this could be to have senior management involved to act as the ambassadors.
Internal Marketing: Promote the gym through various internal channels such as company newsletters, emails, and bulletin boards. Use engaging content, success stories, and visuals to attract attention where possible.
Trial Periods or Free Classes: Offer trial periods or free classes for employees to experience the gym's facilities. This can be a great route to get people interested especially if you plan to run different classes.
While our main focus has been on the initial setup of an office gym, keeping momentum going well into the future is also just as important. Maintaining employee interest and promoting long term engagement with the gym requires strategic thinking, which is why we wanted to give you a few additional points to consider for long term planning:
Budget Allocation: To truly maximise the office gym it's well worth setting aside dedicated budget for maintaining and upgrading gym facilities. If the initial stages of the gym prove to be a success then set aside finances to regularly invest in new equipment or programs to sustain employee interest.
Education and Training: Offering educational sessions is always worthwhile. Helping employees to understand the benefits of regular exercise, proper workout techniques, and the importance of a healthy lifestyle can go a long way. Done right, empowering employees with this type of knowledge could be what they need to sustain a long-term interest in fitness.
Health Challenges with a Purpose: Make fitness about something bigger than the individual by tying fitness challenges to a cause or charity. For example, organising a yearly charity run or fitness event can help rejuvenate interest yearly in the gym by giving employees a collective goal to work towards.
To wrap things up we hope that this blog has given you some insight into the necessary steps that need to be taken in order to have a successful office gym. If you're interested in building out your very own office gym, we would love to hear from you. Get in touch with us by email at [email protected] or call us on 0333 2000 750.
While each office has different needs and presents a new challenge, we can assure you that our work with a range of businesses means we know what it truly takes to create something special for employees. To see just a few of our successful recent projects, take a look over our case studies with Gymshark Lifting Club, Cooper-Associates, Lane-End, and Powerclub.
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