Dubai: ‘Fitness breaks’ at work can help increase employee productivity – News

Breaks can range from having fast desk stretches to a proper run

Published: Sun 21 November 2021 at 14.13

Last updated: Sun 21 November 2021 at 14.18

“Fitness breaks” during working hours can help increase employee morale and productivity, a top official has said. Such breaks can range from having fast desk stretches to a proper run. They reduce employees’ risk of having a sedentary lifestyle, “especially since many of them work long hours at a desk”.

In an interview with the Khaleej Times about the ongoing Dubai Fitness Challenge, Eman Al Madani, senior executive, Corporate Social Responsibility, Center for Responsible Business, Dubai Chamber, highlighted how such breaks can help:

  • Employees returning from a fitness break tend to be more attentive and focused, while also improving their motivation and productivity.

  • Building a healthy work environment leads to a culture of awareness and healthy habits among employees, which in turn is reflected in their overall health and productivity.

  • Research also shows that sickness absence is reduced as a result of an active lifestyle, and it helps to add fitness breaks during working hours.

What companies can do to get staff started

Al Madani said there are many ways companies can encourage their staff to take up fitness-related activities.

“Employers can offer training and information sessions during and after office hours and give prizes to active participants,” she said.

She said the Dubai Fitness Challenge could see more participation by adding virtual reality fitness sessions, “where employees can train anywhere they want while wearing special glasses that will place them in another room”.

More flexibility can be given to employees’ work schedules “to give them more opportunities to train at the times that suit them”.

A more holistic approach could see the introduction of ways to improve sleep and diet; and mental well-being.

As a partner and participant in the challenge, the Dubai Chamber has hosted several staff events.

“We start by examining the interests of the employees and then plan the events accordingly. We always make sure that the activities include everyone’s interests and abilities,” she said. “We organized activities during and after work throughout the month.”

Events held for staff included a hike to Wadi Hilo; a laser tag game in office space; boxing classes; conversations about healthy living; and distribution of healthy snacks to each employee.


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Development of the fitness challenge since 2017

“The technology used to track activities has improved every year, along with an increased use of social media to promote this event. There has also been an increase and diversification of fitness activities and venues every year, and this year is especially with Expo 2020, “said Al Madani.

Al Madani also had a message for those who have not yet taken up the challenge: “Try it – you will be amazed at what you can achieve and you will truly enjoy the feeling of camaraderie and sportsmanship.”

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