In today's modern and inactive way of living, finding the time and motivation to include physical activity in our daily lives can be difficult. Many of us spend extended periods sitting at desks, staring at screens, and neglecting our health. However, there is a low-barrier-to-entry solution that can change our approach to fitness and wellbeing at work - engaging in group physical activity.
The concept of the group effect refers to the phenomenon where individuals achieve better outcomes and experience increased motivation when participating in activities collectively rather than as an individual. This idea has been extensively studied in various domains, including sports, education, and business. When it comes to physical activity in the workplace, leveraging the group effect can have numerous advantages for both employees and employers.
The Benefits of Group Effect
1. Enhanced Motivation
Engaging in physical activity alone can sometimes feel repetitive and demotivating, making it easier to skip workouts. However, when employees participate in physical activities together, a sense of camaraderie and healthy competition emerges. Being part of a group creates a supportive environment where individuals motivate and inspire each other, fostering a positive and energetic atmosphere.
2. Heightened Accountability
It is easier to hold ourselves accountable when others depend on us. Taking part in group physical activities at work establishes a sense of responsibility towards our teammates. Whether it's a group exercise class, a walking club, or a lunchtime sports team, the commitment to others helps ensure regular participation and minimizes the likelihood of skipping workouts.
3. Improved Mental Wellbeing
Physical activity not only improves physical health but also has a profound impact on mental wellbeing. Engaging in group activities promotes social interaction and strengthens relationships among colleagues. The sense of belonging and social support gained through workplace physical activity can reduce stress levels, alleviate feelings of isolation, and enhance overall job satisfaction.
4. Increased Productivity
Research has shown that regular physical activity positively affects cognitive function, memory, and creativity. By incorporating physical activity into the work routine, employees can experience improved focus, increased productivity, and enhanced problem-solving abilities. The group effect amplifies these benefits as collective energy and enthusiasm stimulate and inspire individuals to perform better in their professional roles.
5. Healthier Workforce
Sedentary behavior and a lack of physical activity contribute to various health issues such as obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and musculoskeletal problems. By promoting group physical activity at the workplace, employers actively invest in the health and wellbeing of their workforce. Healthier employees tend to have reduced absenteeism rates, lower healthcare costs, and higher overall job satisfaction, leading to a more productive and engaged workforce.
So, how can employers and employees harness the power of the group effect through workplace physical activity?
What Employers can do to harness group effect for their workplace
1. Establish Supportive Policies
Employers should develop policies that encourage and support physical activity during work hours. This can include providing flexible breaks for exercise, organizing fitness challenges, or partnering with local gyms or fitness centers to offer discounted memberships to employees.
2. Create Group Activities
Employers can initiate group physical activities such as yoga or meditation classes, walking or running clubs, or team sports leagues. These activities can be scheduled during lunch breaks, before or after work hours, or integrated into regular work routines to make them more accessible to all employees.
3. Lead by Example
Managers and supervisors should lead by example and actively participate in workplace physical activities. When employees see their leaders prioritizing health and wellbeing, it creates a culture where physical activity is valued and embraced by all.
4. Track Progress and Celebrate Achievements
Setting goals and tracking progress can help individuals stay motivated and engaged. Employers can implement wellness programs or use fitness tracking apps to monitor employees' activity levels and reward milestones or achievements.
5. Foster Collaboration and Communication
Group physical activities provide an excellent platform for employees from different departments or levels to interact and collaborate. Encourage cross-team participation to strengthen relationships and promote a positive work environment.
By embracing the group effect through workplace physical activity, employees can experience a transformation in their physical and mental wellbeing, leading to a more vibrant and productive workforce. Employers who prioritize the health and happiness of their employees will reap the benefits of increased engagement, improved job satisfaction, and a thriving organizational culture. So, let's work together and unleash the power of the group effect in our workplaces!
Note: It is essential to consult healthcare professionals or fitness experts before engaging in any physical activity, especially for individuals with pre-existing health conditions or injuries.
About the writer
Kester Lim is the Products Operations Lead at Actxa Wellness by day, and a freelance group fitness instructor by night. Guided by his purpose and passion, he hopes to help people feel good about themselves and the value they bring to the world. When he is not out and about doing so, Kester enjoys spending time with his 2 fur kids (a golden dox puppy and a ragdoll kitty) or immersing himself in the virtual world via his Playstation 5 console.
1. O'Donnell, S., Tinney, M., Okely, A. D., & Williams, M. (2018). "A systematic review of the psychological outcomes of group exercise programs for adults with chronic mental illness." Mental Health and Physical Activity, 15, 1-10.
2. Stults-Kolehmainen, M. A., & Sinha, R. (2014). "The effects of stress on physical activity and exercise." Sports Medicine, 44(1), 81-121.
3. Proper, K. I., Koning, M., van der Beek, A. J., Hildebrandt, V. H., Bosscher, R. J., & van Mechelen, W. (2003). "The effectiveness of worksite physical activity programs on physical activity, physical fitness, and health." Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, 13(2), 106-117.
4. Dishman, R. K., & DeJoy, D. M. (2012). "Employer-supported exercise and physical activity interventions." In Handbook of occupational health psychology (2nd ed., pp. 355-375). American Psychological Association.