Cross-CountryIf, as you read this, you’re slouched over in an office chair in front of a computer, with your head perched on your palm, then you’re the rule, not the exception. This is how most of us spend our days at work now: seated.

Unfortunately, sitting in a chair for eight hours a day is proving to be quite costly for our overall health. Evidence is starting to indicate that this seemingly innocent habit is going to put us all in early graves. For employers, keeping employees seated at all times is going to be costly, in the form of sick workers, absenteeism, lost productivity, and, worst of all, untimely employee deaths.

Fortunately, however, there are plenty of ways to create a healthier work environment — and doing so may even boost your company’s bottom line.

Large Companies Should Create Exercise Rooms

It may seem costly to purchase fitness equipment or relinquish the office space needed for an exercise room in the short term, but ultimately, an exercise room can give people a reason to stay at work longer. After all, they won’t have to leave the premises to hit the gym.

Even if employees don’t spend their extra time at the office actually working — you can’t exactly lift weights while answering emails – they will undoubtedly be spending more time with each other, which can strengthen employee bonds and stimulate increased productivity and company loyalty as a result.

Additionally, a fitness room is a huge selling point when it comes to enticing prospective employees, and it just might be what seals the deal when competing for top talent.

As a small one-time investment, an exercise room or in-office gym can pay huge dividends, boosting employee morale, employee engagement, and your employer brand.

Don’t Have the Space to Set Up a Gym? Subsidize Employees’ Gym Memberships Instead

YogaA lot of people who would like gym memberships never end up purchasing them — often because the price tags can be quite high. However, if your company chips in to help employees buy gym memberships, your workers will likely be more willing to give regular exercise a shot. When employees are healthy in body and mind, they tend to take fewer sick days, which keeps the workforce at peak productivity.

Companies can get the most out of subsidized gym members by regularly encouraging employees to make use of the program. Employers can be the (good-naturedly nagging) voices in employees’ ears, reminding them to take care of themselves.

It may not be an on-campus gym, but a subsidized gym membership can still be a tremendous selling point for prospective employees. A gym subsidy may show the right candidate that you care more than your competition about their well-being and happiness in the workplace.

Too Small for In-Office Gyms or Subsidized Gym Memberships? Start Simple

Small companies can provide employees with standing desks, walking meetings, and company cultures that encourage people to get up instead of sending emails across the room. These small initiatives can be just as good for employee engagement, motivation, and productivity as the flashier programs of larger companies.

Small businesses have particularly strong reasons to incentivize physical activity in the workplace: small companies are the backbone of a robust economy. They can’t afford to have sickly workforces — not for their own bottom lines, and not for the bottom line of the economy as a whole.

So, ask yourself: does your company encourage a healthy working environment? And, if it doesn’t, what are you going to do about that?

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