Survey: Exercise Has Positive Impact on Productivity

EIGHTY percent of workers say that exercise has or would have a positive impact on their well being, and 78 percent say that exercise has or would have a positive impact on their overall productivity at work, according to the results of a survey.

Steelcase, an office furniture manufacturer, today unveiled the results of the second in a three-part Workplace Index Survey on the Nature of Work in 2007. Conducted by Opinion Research Corp. (ORC), the study examines the importance of fitness in the workplace, the role companies play in encouraging employee fitness, and the impact that fitness has on productivity levels overall.

The survey of nearly 700 office workers in the United States reveals that only one-third (31 percent) of respondents exercise during work hours. In addition, just one-third of respondents have access to fitness equipment provided by their company or work in an environment that promotes fitness. More often, employers do not provide workers with this access; 62 percent of respondents cite not having an appropriate place to exercise at work as the primary reason for not doing so.

"Exercise is critical to our health and well being, and it is very easy to let fitness fall by the wayside when working in a corporate environment with demanding schedules and workloads," said Chris Congdon, manager of corporate marketing for Steelcase. "This survey reveals a desire by employees to have access to exercise equipment at work, and/or support from their companies to exercise during the work day, which could also benefit corporations with a desire to improve worker satisfaction, wellness and productivity."

Additionally, exercise during the workday has a perceived impact on employees' frame of mind and ability to focus at work. Eighty-five percent of respondents say that exercise gives them energy to stay awake, and 79 percent use exercise to take a necessary break from the office. Fellow co-workers also play an inspirational role for others, as more than 50 percent of respondents choosing to exercise do so with colleagues for motivation.

Additional findings from the study on where, why and how people like to exercise include:

  • Among those who exercise, 85 percent choose to walk, 25 percent go to a nearby gym, and 19 percent do some form of exercise at their desk.
  • Of equipment on employees' wish list, the treadmill is at the top of the list (59 percent), followed by dumbbells and free weights (20 percent) or an elliptical machine (18 percent).
  • Of the 69 percent of employees that do not exercise during the workday, common reasons are: not having an appropriate place to do so (62 percent), fitness is not a priority (22 percent), it is frowned upon at the workplace (19 percent) and not having enough energy during the day (14 percent).

For more information on the Steelcase Workplace Index Surveys, visit www.steelcase.com.

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