As trends have changed, health and fitness has moved into the spotlight and increasingly individuals are thinking more about what they eat, their exercise regimes and how they live their lives. For some, it becomes a way of life for which everything else must fit around but for many, it’s an ‘extra consideration’ that is heavily effort and time dependant. In the fast-paced lives we all seem to be leading, the standard 9 – 5 jobs that stop when we leave the office don’t necessarily apply anymore and as a result companies are beginning to offer a more flexible approach to working. In 2014, the top floor of the COINS office in Slough was converted into a gym, offering; individual coaching sessions, group classes or for those who just wanted to make use of the facilities it was available for personal use. Whilst it is a definite luxury for employees, what are the actual benefits of having a gym in the office?

As a consultant where finding time for myself is extremely difficult and fatigue is at its highest after work it is very useful to not have to travel elsewhere to use the gym. Having a gym in the workplace has enabled me to commit to a long term healthy lifestyle whilst still having time to spend with my family and relax.

COINS - Application Consultant

Convenience often plays a strong part when making a decision so having a facility that fits easily into your daily schedule naturally makes it more accessible and, as a result, increases the likelihood of you going. Having the opportunity to fit in a gym session during lunch or even before or after work means that instead of taking up a whole evening, that 30 minutes HIIT session really does just take 30 minutes – plus you’ll probably avoid rush hour in the process. We all know the obvious benefits of going to the gym, the external ‘image conscious’ changes such as achieving a trimmer figure or improving your posture but often the most significant benefits are those that aren’t always visible to the naked eye, such as strengthening your heart, improving your mental health or building self-confidence. Sitting in the same position for several hours a day can lead to muscle soreness, stiffness and pain, which can result in headaches. Anyone who’s suffered from any of these on either a short or long-term basis I’m sure will vouch for how much it hinders your concentration and focus. When deadlines are looming it’s easy to reach the end of the day having taken no longer than a 5-minute break to collect your lunch or swap locations for a meeting.

The gym has helped a great deal when I feel stressed at work. It has improved my energy levels, makes me feel better physically and enables me to tune everything else out - it has become like a little sanctuary for me.

COINS - Support

An article by Forbes describes how the body and mind operates and when you’re at your peak, with results proving that you’re at your most productive when you take regular breaks. Therefore, whilst there are a number of health benefits that individuals will gain from converting to a regular gym goer, in the interest of good business there’s also scientific proof that your work will be better quality too.

Rob Winfield, founder of BodySculpt, played an integral part in choosing equipment for the gym and continues to run group classes as well as offering individual personal training (PT) sessions for employees.

Obviously I feel strongly about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, but for me it's also been fantastic to see how individuals have developed in their self confidence as well as their knowledge about exercise and nutrition. It's a privilege to be working with a company that is so forward thinking and truly puts the well-being of their staff as a priority.

Rob Winfield, Founder of BodySculpt

In addition to the advantages from an individual’s perspective there is also the social aspect that employees can gain from. In the gym environment, you get to know the person behind the title, all elements of seniority are left behind and you have the opportunity to interact and team up with those who you might not know as well or wouldn’t necessarily work with. Breaking down the barriers makes individuals more approachable, you’re more inclined to ask a friend for a favour than someone you rarely speak to, which means in a professional scenario you’re more likely to work together better as a team. Furthermore, when you know people better on neutral ground, away from your workspace, you encourage each other and learn how to bring the best out of them, both in the gym and related to their role.

As an individual where I was always conscious about my body and lacking in confidence to attend the gym, the support and encouragement from colleagues has been a motivational factor to attend classes and build the confidence to work on my strength.

COINS - Application Consultant

Maslow identified ‘a sense of belonging’ within his hierarchy of needs, highlighting the fact that in order for an individual to have a chance at achieving self-actualisation, this needs to be in place. This refers to feeling welcome and at home in the environment, which means you should also feel comfortable with the people around you too. When employees feel valued and are happy in their work, they engage in all aspects of the company and feel motivated into providing the best service or quality of work that they can. It would be straightforward to identify the potential value of the gym from a financial perspective for a company; the costs of recruitment due to dissatisfaction or the average time off due to stress, injury or illness but that doesn’t cover the full extent of its potential gain.

As well as allowing us to keep fit it creates a sense of community and a place to socialise with peers who we may not have needed to speak to within our roles at COINS. It also helps build teamwork across departments as everyone cheers each other on if we are pushing through a tough class or we can help one another if we are struggling. I have seen colleagues’ confidence soar and friendships form, it has done nothing but benefit all of those who use it.

COINS - Client Engagement