Incentive Campaigns – How Can a Company Encourage Employees to Be Active?

How to motivate teams to be active and why is it worth it?

Incentive Campaigns – How Can a Company Encourage Employees to Be Active?

The benefits of exercise for physical and mental health cannot be overstated, whether we look from the perspective of an employee or a company. Yet this realisation does not make everyone move from the couch. So how to motivate teams to be active and why is it worth it?

Awareness greater than motivation

The benefits of exercise were more widely appreciated with the COVID-19 pandemic, during which engaging in physical activity was greatly hampered. As Adam Waszkowski, PhD, notes in the MultiSport Index 2023 Report, the time made us realise that even a short walk means real benefits – and not only for physical health, but also, or even above all, for mental health.

Did you know that 42% of active Poles exercise for better mental health?

2023 MultiSport Index Report

As a result, up to 88% of Poles now believe that physical activity is part of preventive healthcare, while 87% say it improves mental health.

At the same time, however, despite the change in awareness, more than a third of adult Poles still do not engage in any activity.And it is not about playing a specific sport or visiting the gym, but simply walking. What is more, we are aware of this – already one in three Poles who engage in physical activity 1-3 times a month believe that this is far too little.

But before answering the question “How to encourage activity?”, let’s consider why such motivation is crucial.

Why is employee activity important to the company?

We know all too well how important activity is to every individual – this can be seen, for example, in the aforementioned data from the MultiSport Index 2023 Report, indicating that we know the value of exercise, and we ourselves believe that we move too little. However, let’s look at a slightly different issue – the advantages of activity from the employer’s point of view. It is the companies that can have a real impact on “getting Poles to move”. Why is it worth it for them to do so? Answers are again provided by the report and the comments of its authors.

Benefits of employee physical activity for the company:

1. Positive impact on the atmosphere in the workplace

People who are regularly active have better mood, more energy and a positive attitude. These aspects automatically translate into relations between employees.

2. Higher resistance to stress

Exercise is one of the solutions to help reduce stress levels in the workplace. This is because physical activity allows to relieve negative emotions and increases overall resistance to stressors.

3. Improved concentration

Exercise can contribute to better learning, as well as more efficient work. All this is due to its beneficial effects on the brain. Conversely, inactivity takes a real toll on the ability to focus attention and remember. And in times of dynamic change, these are key competencies.

4. Increased efficiency

Exercise also supports greater creativity and a proactive attitude. So if you want to have an effective, agile team, it makes sense to promote physical activities within the company. Iwona Piątkowska, PhD, stresses that improving mental condition makes it easier to achieve set goals and helps sustain consistency in action.

5. Reduced absenteeism

“Time is money” – this principle also applies to the period during which employees are on a sick leave. Exercise helps prevent many diseases and has a positive effect on immunity, resulting in fewer absences.

Physical activity by team members brings a number of tangible benefits to the company. The question, however, is how can a company encourage employees to take it up?

How can a company motivate its employees?

Forced isolation during the pandemic made us like exercise, and after the pandemic ended, our views on the issue solidified. According to the MultiSport Index Report, for 72% of employees, sports cards have become more important in terms of mental and physical health. Moreover, as many as 68% believe that the MultiSport card should be part of the basic benefits package offered by the employer. All this leads to a fairly simple conclusion – to promote activity, a company can use tools in the form of popular benefits. It is an easily accessible solution that is a real answer to the needs of teams.

But there is more. Campaigns promoting exercise as a preventive health measure can also be conducted in the workplace. Whether online or onsite, you can provide employees with access to expert knowledge – through workshops or webinars. Some companies can also adapt their infrastructure to facilitate exercise even in the workplace (e.g. a separate room for yoga classes, movable desks to allow standing work, etc.).

And finally, the company can take advantage of seasonal incentive campaigns. An example of such measure is the MultiSport Summer Game campaign organised by Benefit Systems. It shows in practice how properly selected benefits can support a company in motivating teams and promoting activity.

Incentive campaign in practice – the Summer Game case study

The rules of the Summer Game are simple – just have an active MultiSport card and sign up for the campaign on the online platform. Then, throughout the game, participants collect credits for visiting sports facilities. They can also earn additional bonuses, such as for expanding their knowledge of healthy activities. The credits collected can be redeemed for vouchers to popular shops and apps with services, and valuable prizes await the most persevering.

The result? The Summer Game has been enormously popular for 7 years, with tens of thousands of active participants. What does this mean for employers, i.e. companies that have offered their employees the benefit of a MultiSport card? Here are the most important aspects:

  • greater motivation for physical activity in leisure time,

  • healthy gamification atthe company, at no additional cost to the employer,

  • effective promotion of healthy lifestyles,

  • building a positive image of the company that cares for employee well-being.

Does the Summer Game motivate? Definitely yes! As many as 60% of participants earned credits for doing at least one onsite workout per week, and 31% earned credits for regularity. Above all, however, participation in the game was in keeping with the needs and the pro-health mindset of employees. This is evidenced by the data collected in a survey accompanying the Summer Game.

As many as 87% of participants reported increased frequency and variety of exercise since having the MultiSport card, and 98% said that the activities it provides access to were an important part of preventive mental healthcare. Even more interestingly for employers themselves, according to 98% of participants in the Summer Games, regular physical activity has an impact on reducing stress levels, and for 95% it also translates into greater efficiency and engagement at work.

Such solution carries a very clear message for companies – effectively engaging employees in physical activity is definitely possible. Moreover, such motivation does not generate high costs and does not put an additional burden on the teams. As a result, both the employee and the company benefit.