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18 January 2019
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FM resolutions

16 January 2015

It was when my sister offered me a cereal bowl containing nothing but miniature Bounty bars – and a spoon – that the traditional festive red light began flickering. 

Here was my annual warning that it was time to draw a line under the Christmas excess and prepare instead for the grey, calorie-controlled realities of January.

So – New Year, new me? More likely new year, new meaningless attempt to adopt a better diet and get more exercise. But what we’re all dealing with is an age-old industry driven by marketers. As is traditional, the first get-fit food and exercise adverts were being run barely fifteen minutes into Boxing Day – as regular a part of the post-Christmas advertising mix as those frankly surreal part-work publications (collect parts of the Millennium Falcon – a snip at just £900!).

Of course, it is entirely normal to welcome in the New Year with a fresh focus on personal health and all that contributes to it, but it’s an impetus that can quickly ebb away. That said, there’s plenty going on to suggest that 2015 might just be different – with FM taking a lead role.

Like so many other areas of corporate performance, there’s much for FM to tap into regarding an individual’s personal health and fitness levels, with it going further than the provision and maintenance of on-site gyms. This Christmas saw another generation of smartphones and tablets in the hands of new owners, each sporting a plethora of health maintenance apps. These latest devices – including wrist watches and other forms of monitors – allow each of us far greater awareness of just how easily our own physical and mental performance can be monitored. Health monitoring has been the digital device trend for a year or so already, but 2015 will see a real change in the number of such devices in day-to-day use with an associated rise in the number of people actually using the functionality.

Meanwhile, 2015 has already seen an event aimed at workplace managers – the Active Working Summit (subtitle: ‘The Sedentary Office – a case for change’) and we’ve noticed far more in the way of physical health related product and service announcements already this year. You’ll also be aware of the markers you can install to show how many calories are consumed walking a particular flight of stairs and how users can monitor that activity.

So, the office as a kind of health-related obstacle course? It’s another angle for FMs to consider, but why not? FM already plays a role in maintaining a workplace used at different times for different functions, so it’s not much of a leap to include a consideration of users’ day-to-day fitness requirements.

It’s interesting stuff. Instead of its more obvious role providing a binding sense of purpose to the corporate whole, could it be that the thing that really saves the office in physical form is its ability to feature in workplace users’ daily exercise routines?

However this all works out (pardon the pun), it’s another example of the potential for FM and HR to work together for the corporate good. After all, few will argue against the obvious logic that a healthy workforce is a productive one.

Martin Read is managing editor at FM World