Create an active office for healthier, happier employees

Creating an active office can make your employees happier, healthier and more engaged in the office. Here’s how to create an active office where fitness and activity are built-in!

The atmosphere of the workplace is changing across the country. As employees demand a more satisfying work experience, managers are seeing the benefits of a healthy work/life balance for employees. Healthier employees are generally happier employees. Many jobs require employees to spend much of their day seated at a desk, which leads to health conditions related to prolonged inactivity. Sitting for extended periods contributes to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. One way to combat this problem is by providing the opportunity for more activity at work. Encouraging employees to get up and walk for even 2-5 minutes every hour can help to undo health risks from prolonged sitting. Another is to run an office step challenge, with our Pacer for Teams organizational step challenge system!

Here are 6 benefits of active offices, plus 7 ways to encourage activity and exercise during the workday to keep your employees active, fit, and happier!

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Benefits of an Active Office

Active offices are more fun and engaging, but that’s all your employees will get out of an active office. Whether you’re creating a wellness program, a manager who wants healthier employees, or you just want to encourage your coworkers to get moving, there are many benefits to making your company more active. This may seem time-consuming at first but as the program takes off, you will likely see a payoff inside the office through increased morale and productivity.

The number one reason most American adults don’t participate in daily exercise is lack of time. When you’re juggling a full day of work, home responsibilities, lengthy commutes, and fitting in leisure and rest time, it seems impossible to squeeze in time for fitness. With the right encouragement and tweaks to help your office move more, your employees can get more active and productive during the workday. As your employees start living a more active lifestyle, this will inevitably reflect on the culture of the company as well.

Some of the benefits of an active office include:

Better relationships within the office

Young workers high fiving while walking
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Employees who are friends with coworkers are more likely to report higher satisfaction rates with their place of employment. Nurturing these relationships pays off with a better office atmosphere and improved group cooperation.

Having employees talk face-to-face instead of via email or messaging apps can improve relationships between team members and can actually increase efficiency and reduce the risk of misunderstandings in many cases. Taking a 5-minute walk to get active and talk to a coworker can often save a lot more time going back and forth via email.

Increased productivity

Increased employee productivity concept
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Exercise increases your heart rate and energy level long after your workout is finished. Taking a half-hour for daily exercise can lead to a boost in group productivity that lasts all afternoon. Activity can also increase creativity and boost your mood, which can lead to happier, more productive employees.

Decreased healthcare costs

Regular fitness leads to better health. Eliminating common conditions related to prolonged sitting will drop office healthcare costs.

Higher job satisfaction

Exercise can help increase office communication and lead to healthier and happier opportunities. The natural release of endorphins related to exercise boost general happiness during the workday.

Fewer days lost to illness and injury

Exercise reduces many common health problems, which can lead to fewer days lost to minor health problems. It also helps relieve chronic back pain, joint pain, and muscle pain. Reducing these common health problems will eliminate a considerable amount of absence due to illness.

Lower stress levels

Woman meditating at work
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Exercise releases endorphins that relieve stress and promote better mental health. Besides the initial boost during exercise, employees who exercise daily are less likely to suffer from depression.

How to Incorporate Fitness into the Office

While the benefits of a healthier lifestyle may seem obvious, taking the first steps to create an active office seems like a challenge. Aerobic activity increases energy for hours after a workout. However, most people are hardwired to believe that taking any chance to relax will help them feel less tired. Once habits are formed, they’re difficult to break. Providing the right opportunity and motivation can make all the difference. Here are a few easy ways to make your office more active:

Host Active Meetings

Employees walking and having a meeting / Shutterstock

There is no reason that meetings have to occur in a conference room. When the weather permits, move the meeting outside and stay mobile while addressing the talking points. A walking meeting can allow an entire group a chance to add to their daily step count.

Longer Lunches

Employees working during lunch break
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Providing employees with a long lunch will give them an opportunity to take a walk or hit the gym. If exercise at lunch seems like bad timing, a workout break could be integrated into the day instead. A mid-morning workout can eliminate excuses and increase productivity throughout the rest of the day.

Offer Benefits

People riding stationary bikes at gym
Rido / Shutterstock

If there is a fitness center in your building or nearby your office, consider encouraging your employees to join. Offering subsidized or free memberships is a great way to get people involved, but by creating incentives for people to actually go you can help get them more active.

Encourage Friendly Competition

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Whether your employees are counting daily steps or celebrating monthly weight loss goals, keep track of successes large and small. Counting steps is an easy way for beginning fitness walkers to chart their progress. An employee team step challenge is a great way to build friendly competition and encourage everyone to join in the fun.

Talk Face to Face

With the rise of email and messaging apps, team members often don’t feel the need to talk face to face – even when they’re 2 desks away. Encouraging your team to talk face to face helps get them active and break up long periods of sitting. It’s often easier to get things done in real time rather than via email, and talking face to face helps build closer connections among team members.


You can’t expect others to participate in a program that you show no interest in yourself. Whether you are a company manager trying to improve wellness or you have been nominated as the office activity counselor, practice what you preach. Take the initiative by jumping in with both feet and setting a personal example of the benefits of fitness.

Offer Incentives

Winner's podium with top winners concept
ProStockStudio / Shutterstock

Rewards are a powerful incentive to get things started. Set easy goals for employees to work toward a long lunch, an office party, or an afternoon off. Recognition is an effective reward on its own. Ensure the entire office shares in the celebration of individual fitness accomplishments.

An inter-office challenge is a great way for a group of people to get into a healthy lifestyle. Walking programs are an easy inexpensive activity for almost any beginner. Encourage new fitness walkers to download the Pacer App and consider starting a Pacer Team step challenge for all members of the office to join.

Get Pacer

If you haven’t downloaded the Pacer app yet, download Pacer for free (on mobile)! You can also check out our website (mobile or desktop) or follow our blog for more great walking and healthy lifestyle tips.

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