A healthy body is a healthy mind and thankfully, we’re all much more aware of the link between keeping fit physically and keeping fit mentally. One of the biggest complaints, however, is not having enough time to exercise - especially if there are long working days - but the office can actually be part of the solution.

The workplace gym should be part of as many office interior designs as possible. Here, MPL discusses the benefits of having a gym in the workplace, the different workplace gym design types, and how the right facility can be an essential part of your hiring and staff retention strategy.

Why Does A Workplace Need A Gym?

Whether employees are improving their fitness as part of a New Year’s resolution, are working towards a sporting goal or see exercise as a vital part of mental wellbeing, there are so many benefits of a gym in the workplace.

Here are a few reasons why an office refurb by MPL should include a workplace gym:-

Improve staff satisfaction

Staff love to feel valued and appreciated, so investing in a good workplace gym design is a visible sign from company owners that they want to look after staff and give them a holistic workplace experience.

Increase wellbeing & health among employees

In 2017, Pure Gym found 35% office workers don’t get enough exercise but according to the CIPD Health & Wellbeing at work Survey 2021, only 37% of employers provide a workplace gym or subsidised gym membership. Having more onsite fitness facilities would go a long way to helping the nation’s health and wellbeing.

Supercharge productivity

The International Journal of Workplace Health Management’s report entitled ‘Exercising at work and self‐reported work performance’ is a heavy read but the findings totally support the workplace gym. Participating employees saw a 72% improvement in time management and workload completed on days when they exercised, while exercise is well known for improving focus and preventing mid-afternoon productivity slumps.

Create a USP when attracting & retaining talent

One of the lesser known benefits of having a gym in the workplace is the ability to impress new recruits and retain existing staff. A workplace gym is a great perk that can attract candidates – especially if numeration packages are not as competitive – while a first-class workplace gym design will make it hard for existing employees to leave.

Create a new income stream

If you have the space and a suitable location, you could create a workplace gym or studio that can be rented out to personal trainers, fitness instructors or community groups at set times  - perhaps at weekends. If managed correctly, a workplace gym can even pay for itself.

What Do You Need To Consider When Designing A Workplace Gym?

There are a number of considerations when planning a workplace gym design, which include:-

The space available

There are creative design solutions for even the smallest of spaces and MPL is a specialist in designing retail and commercial premises where space is at a premium – you’ll be surprised at what workplace gym is possible. Even if you’re a shop or High Street store, you can still use retail fit outs to support employee health – merely installing a shower will encourage staff to cycle or run to work.

The type of exercise employees like

From hardcore HIIT, bootcamp and free weights to spin classes, pilates and bodypump – there are a myriad of exercise classes and programmes you could accommodate. The best way to find out the most popular fitness styles within a company is to perform a survey among staff.

Sound, light, data & cooling

Your workplace gym design will need to take into account a number of ambient factors. Will you want to pump music into the room? Will you need to be able to dim the lights for classes such as yoga or mindfulness? Can you provide air con? Will users want on-demand/virtual classes screened on TVs?.

Pre & post workout

A workplace gym on its own will fail. You’ll need lockers for staff to store gym clothing and valuables, a water station for hydration, showers for post-exercise hygiene and a small vanity area for drying and dressing.

What Type of Equipment Does Your Office Gym Need?

Exercise can be done with just bodyweight but to keep staff using your workplace gym, you’ll have to provide variety. A combination of the following equipment should provide for all needs but remember to cater for all fitness levels and abilities:-

  • Free weights: a selection of barbells with plates, dumbbells and kettlebells
  • Cable machines: fixed pieces of equipment that allow users to pull and push weights, working different muscle groups
  • Cardio equipment: can running, rowing and stepper machines, cross-trainers and exercise bikes
  • Miscellaneous: TRX suspension trainers, mats, resistance bands, steps, benches, foam blocks, rollers and slam bags

Sound-proofing, walls & floors

A workplace gym design should try to replicate the best private fitness facilities. This may mean installing a sprung wooden floor, laying protective mats, cladding one wall in mirrors so people can check their form and even reinforcing the floor.

You may also need a high level of soundproofing to walls and between floors, especially if you plan to hold group classes to music. MPL can specify acoustic membrane, acoustic mineral wool cavity insulation, fibreglass and soundproof drywall to keep sound contained.

Show Off Your Brand With Your Design

It's possible to carry any corporate identity over from the office floor into a workplace gym. The walls are the main place to apply colour and logos, with the flat surfaces a place to have fun and inspire employees. You could go big with a wall-to-wall graphic or create a club atmosphere with neon rope lights. If you’re in any doubt and for ultimate engagement, ask your staff to suggest workplace gym design ideas.

The benefits of having a gym in the workplace are too good to ignore. Even if you create a room with a small selection of equipment – perhaps two cardio machines, a rack of free weights and a mat area - you will outwardly show employees that health and wellbeing is equally as important as professional success. We can replan your space to include a workplace gym – please get in touch to start a project.