Why Some Enterprises are Fitter than Others

By Barbara Piller , 03. April 2018

Workplace health promotion is a complex issue that has become a real success factor and a significant employer branding tool. Nevertheless, the trend also has its weak spots.


Workplace health promotion is an issue subject to constant change. Twenty years ago it was simply a matter of accident prevention, the focus later shifting exclusively to ergonomics. Ten years ago in-house fitness centres were all the rage. Today, however, health is viewed as something essentially multi-faceted; it is no longer merely a question of physical fitness but also of mental fitness and togetherness within the company.


“Today corporate healthcare takes this complexity into account. For this reason we need to offer programmes combining fitness, mental wellness and team spirit,” argues Michael Mayrhofer, the sport scientist and trainer from Salzburg. One example he practises is a run through the woods in the morning in the company of a running coach, the team cooking lunch together at midday and mental training in the afternoon. “This holistic training approach can of course be carried out in any desired constellation,” explains Mayrhofer, and stresses that “ today it is no longer simply a question of individual aspects of health but of the entire spectrum of physical, mental and social aspects as well as the health of the enterprise.”


An Employer-Branding Instrument for Promoting Health

While the absence periods of overworked employees in traditionally thinking companies generate high expenditure, and the loss of motivation affecting whole departments results in ever increasing staff turnover or inner resignation, innovation-orientated enterprises have long since recognised the need for action and have responded accordingly. In addition to the obvious internal benefit which healthy, high-performing and motivated employees bestow on an enterprise, it is also a matter of gaining competitive advantages in the hunt for the best minds. Targeted health promotion is an efficient employer branding tool, supporting the employer brand and polishing its image. However, the measures required to achieve this must be properly and accurately communicated, both internally and externally.



Health Promotion as a Gesture of Appreciation

Entrepreneurs frequently report that health-promoting offers are not well received by employees, or even that they are openly refused. Michael Mayrhofer is also familiar with this problem. “Much depends on how the offers and measures are communicated. It is essential they are perceived as a gesture of appreciation.“ If not, there is a danger that employees will react hostilely, or even see the measures as a waste of money which could have been more sensibly invested elsewhere. The reason for this differentiated view is that health is a socio-political area which continues to be greatly dependent on creating awareness. “Intensive educational work is needed in some industries and companies. A great deal of work lies ahead for us all,“ sums up Mayrhofer.



If you want to get started right away with personal health in the office, here are three practical exercises by Michael Mayrhofer.


Photo credit: Shutterstock

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