Employees who exercise for at least 30 minutes, three times a week, are 15 percent more likely to perform better at work, based on research from the Health Enhancement Research Organization. Additionally, absenteeism is 27 percent lower for workers who exercise regularly. It’s relatively easy to offer a reduced gym membership – all the major UK fitness chains and many local authority leisure centres offer corporate memberships which can then be offered free or subsidised as an employee benefit.

However, bear in mind that that not all staff will appreciate or use a gym – 2019 research suggests that only a third of those with a corporate gym membership go more than once a week – so consider corporate gym membership alternatives for your staff. Particularly as staff may have found new ways to exercise during lockdowns, plus if you are having staff in the office less in the future, will that gym membership be used even less? 

Consider offering employees an annual amount that they can put towards their choice of physical activity, or exercise choice that better suits their lifestyle. The amount will of course depend on available resources but even £150-200 per employee can have a huge positive impact, as described below, but could also be cheaper overall than the corporate gym membership option.


Choice creates employee empowerment 

Employees will feel empowered that it’s their choice and making such an offer may help strengthen relationships with them. The allowance could allow them to afford a sports club membership or perhaps learn a valuable skill like swimming. In such cases, the employee is likely to genuinely appreciate to their employer for such a contribution, even if its towards an existing class or sport they enjoy.

So, for example the allowance could go towards any of the follow (either new or existing):

  • Golf or tennis club membership
  • Regular yoga classes
  • 5 a-side football
  • Swimming lessons
  • Money towards a new bike or running shoes
  • Entry into sporting events – for example a 10k or half marathon

Simply ask staff to provide evidence that they have spent their allowance on some form of physical activity. It could also be extended to a National Trust membership or an annual pass to an area of local beauty to encourage walking and enjoying the great outdoors, as not everyone likes sport or exercising.

A company wide gym membership might be easier in the short term to set up, but corporate gym membership alternatives may be more beneficial in the longer term when it comes to morale and the overall health and wellbeing of staff.

Contact us if you’d like help on developing the business case for such a move and to help you set up and roll-out this kind of initiative.