The reasons why physical activity will improve concentration and productivity in the office
We all know how difficult it can be to motivate yourself to stay productive during a long, working day. Too often we rely on quick solutions such as coffee and snacking to stay upbeat and focused, without considering how our time spent between working hours could significantly help boost both our productivity as well as our overall workplace wellbeing.
One such way to improve productivity is physical exercise. Here at Birchwood Park, we care about our occupier’s wellbeing, and we always strive to support the wellness and physical health of staff where possible by providing a range of amenities, including an on-site gym Alive & Well.
We take a look at the reasons why physical exercise not only benefits you physically and emotionally outside of work but within the office walls too – improving your focus, productivity and happiness, whether you’re working at a desk or on-site.
Regular exercise will sharpen decision-making at work. One study by the International Journal of Workplace Health Management reveals that workday exercise results in improved time management and more work completed. The increased flow of oxygenated blood to your brain helps to improve memory and coordination, ensuring your mind is sharpened to make logical, thought-out decisions in the office.
Gyms and fitness centres are now becoming more accessible for those working from home, as well as those working at a business park with a gym on-site. By engaging in exercise before you begin work or perhaps during your lunch break, you can return to your desk focused, ready to be creative and offer resolutions to day-to-day problems.
Not only does exercise fight that afternoon slump we all deal with from time to time but staying active will improve your mental capacity by giving you a well-needed break from your computer screen.
In doing so, your time at work will be spent being more creative, feeling both refreshed and attentive to the task at hand, without having to deal with ‘brain fog’ and reduced productivity after lunch.
For our occupiers at Birchwood Park, either a session with a personal trainer or even a jog by the lake will clear your mind and help you take a more measured approach in your decision-making at work.
A study by the British Heart Foundation (2016) reveals physically active workers take 27% fewer sick days. It is no secret that physical exercise improves our health both at work and at home.
Regular physical activity boosts your immune system, meaning your body is better prepared for fighting the cold and flu, reducing sick days and therefore ensuring greater productivity in the long term.
By looking after your body, you will require less time off, meaning you’re not playing catch-up on work projects once you do return to the office.
Our bodies are designed to move regularly. Sitting, hunched over a desk five days a week can contribute to a number of health issues, including heart problems, weight gain and issues with your posture (Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 2017), as well as generally making you feel more lethargic and demotivated as the day goes on.
By committing time and effort to stay physically fit and healthy, our time at work will be better spent, ensuring a more productive working week, reduced time spent ill in bed and a more enjoyable, positive experience when we’re sat at our desks.
Exercise tires our bodies and clears our minds, helping us sleep more soundly. In doing so, we wake up for work feeling replenished and upbeat, ready to ‘attack the day’. Research reveals sleep deprivation significantly impacts work productivity.
Depriving yourself of at least 6-8 hours of sleep per night will reduce your focus and concentration, combining to impact your decision-making and health too. It’s clear we need to be doing what we can to ensure we feel well-rested if we’re going to be the best versions of ourselves in the office.
Regular physical exercise improves deep sleep, giving your mind a chance to rejuvenate and ‘reset’ following a busy, stressful day. A longer, more rested sleep in the evening can be achieved with moderate stretching, running or aerobic exercises during the day – ensuring less stress in the office and consequently a more productive one too.
By taking part in one of Alive & Well’s outdoor classes held throughout the working week, you might feel more tired in the later evenings, ready for your head to hit the pillow and have some necessary downtime before going to work the following day.
Reduce anxiety and stress
The symptoms of depression and anxiety are often reduced with physical exercise. Research reveals regular participation in aerobic exercises are vital for maintaining ‘mental fitness’ by reducing the effects of stressful events at work.
Physical exercise will reduce overall levels of tension, stabilise your mood and improve self-esteem – all key components for an industrious day spent in front of a computer screen or on-site.
Birchwood Park regularly holds exercise classes, and our bespoke membership programme is designed to help you stay as active as possible throughout the week, including professional personal-training sessions and flexible gym time.
By making sure you vary the types of physical training, we’re here to support our occupiers combat low mood, as well as improving cognition by reducing symptoms of anxiety. Since the lockdown, the number of people across the UK reporting symptoms of anxiety and depression has significantly increased, so the Park does what it can to encourage people back to the office, as well as providing the facilities and advice necessary to improve staff members mental health and workplace wellbeing, as detailed in the Workplace Wellbeing Handbook.
Click here to find out more about how we look after occupiers’ well-being and fitness here at Birchwood Park.