ukactive and Sport England today (29 September) announce a major consultation to uncover existing and new opportunities to get workforces moving more.
The organisations have joined forces to understand what the physical activity sector is doing to support employees to be more active, in addition to exploring how to work more closely to improve the health of working adults.
A report on the research will provide employers, the physical activity sector, and the Government, with clear recommendations for supporting businesses to encourage activity among employees in order to improve workplace wellbeing.
ukactive and Sport England want voices and perspectives from businesses of all sizes to be well represented, as well as insights from ukactive members across the UK.
Often overlooked, the consultation will make sure that it understands the needs and support that SME’s, micro-businesses and business whose workforce are not office-based, require to support their employees to be a physically active work environment.
It will also be an opportunity for organisations in the physical activity sector to provide evidence and ideas for how the sector can support workplaces in meeting the challenges of creating an active, healthy workforce.
As well as a survey, which goes live today, the consultation will involve a series of focus groups with representatives from across the business landscape, as well as the physical activity sector.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic means many workplaces are looking for new and innovative ways to support the physical and mental health of their staff.
From mid-July to mid-September 2020, during the easing of the restrictions, research from Sport England showed there were 1.4 million adults who were less active (completing 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week), compared to the same period in 2019.
A shift in working patterns has led to fewer opportunities for physical activity during the working day, with many no longer travelling as part of a commute, combined with increased time spent indoors at home.
Being active during working hours or at work has benefits for both businesses and their employees, but understanding how to implement such opportunities, especially for smaller businesses, is not yet clear or simple for all.
Alex Lucas, Senior Research Analyst at ukactive, said: “Physical activity is a fundamental to being physically and mentally healthy.
“Increasing access to opportunities for activity in the workplace is essential not only for an individual’s health, but can positively benefit productivity, job satisfaction, organisational culture and, overall, reduce business costs associated with sickness or absence.
“Supporting workplaces, especially smaller ones, on this journey is vital, and the best way to get there is to continue to capture evidence demonstrating what works, what doesn’t work, and what support is needed to expand physical activity opportunities.
“This consultation will provide this information in a tangible format to workplaces and relevant sectors, showing how businesses and the physical activity sector can work more effectively together to support the health of working adults in the UK.”
Amy Crees, Sport England’s Head of Business Development, said: “Sport and physical activity have a huge role to play in improving the physical and mental health of the nation, supporting the economy and connecting communities.
“By supporting their employees to be active during the working day, employers can be at the forefront of making a positive contribution to the nation’s health.
“This is not always easy or straightforward for employers to approach, which is why this consultation with ukactive will help us understand what more can be done to get workforces active, as well as the type of advice and guidance employers themselves would find useful.”
The consultation survey is now available to complete here and closes on the 29 October. If you are an employer or HR manager of a business or a member of the fitness and leisure sector please have your say.
To find out more, including to enquire about joining the focus groups, contact Alex Lucas at [email protected]