Installing an in-house gym in your workplace may sound daunting or costly, but Max Wilson says it's a simple process offering big results.
05 October 2018 | Max Wilson
Many organisations offer their employees the perk of a subsidised gym contract, but what about the value of installing your own gym instead?
The advantages are obvious: your team can work out before work, get a boost during their lunch break or wind down from the day without having to leave the premises or pay for a gym membership elsewhere.
Most people would consider installing an on-site gym too expensive, time-consuming and overwhelming. But there is plenty of fitness equipment designed to provide a complete workout that won't burden your budget, doesn't take up too much space and can be delivered to the office.
Here are five key factors to be considered:
1. Engage and motivate
Consult management and social leaders in the workplace to determine their needs. If executed well, a workplace gym can promote interaction among employees and develop internal relationships. Exercising in a group promotes camaraderie. Healthy competition can be created through workplace challenges at the on-site gym, such as charity races on treadmills or interdepartmental fitness competitions.
Within larger workplaces, gyms quickly become a social environment to connect different departments and break down hierarchies.
Of course, consistent communication with staff about the facilities is essential for successful use of the gym. Newsletters, notice boards and signposting are ways of communicating this, but each business will find a solution that suits them best.
2. Choose good-quality equipment
The most common choices of equipment are bicycles and treadmills because they are robust, simple and suitable for all ages and abilities.
But it's worth finding out from your staff about what their fitness goals are to help determine what type of equipment they would prefer.
A point to remember is that cardio equipment can be bulky, so look for machines with wheels so they can be moved around easily to accommodate the different user needs of the space.
3. Hire, don't buy
Hiring equipment instead of buying it can reduce costs and speed the set-up - it's also often cheaper than subsidising gym memberships for large work teams.
Equipment providers tend to offer a range of flexible plans to keep costs low and allow you to plan financial commitments in advance. Choosing short-term fixed plans means that rented equipment can be changed regularly so the gym offering is different. This is helpful for users' changing needs and also a practical means of trial and error to find the best option for your staff.
4. Make use of space
Space is a precious commodity, especially for SMEs. But with the right equipment, a working gym need not occupy much floor space.
Cardiovascular equipment uses less space than strength equipment such as kettlebells and barbells, which require more space to be used safely.
Cardiovascular equipment is also easier to clean. For a small gym serving a team of about 15 staff, we recommend different cardio machines to provide a range of workout options. It's best to line this equipment against the wall.
Consider noise disruption. Ground-floor rooms are best for fitness areas, as they do not upset any floors beneath.
And remember that for an on-site gym to be popular, workplaces will need to be equipped with showers.
5. Maintenance contracts
A key consideration is the maintenance and care of the equipment in the office gym: will the workplace managers maintain the equipment in-house or opt for the service provider to do so?
Contracts vary, with some offering routine servicing and support and others on a call-out basis, as the equipment needs. Unforeseen call-outs can be expensive, so it is better to seek a more structured arrangement to minimise costs. Over time, and with intense use, the equipment may break down. In this case, repairs will be required and how you procured the equipment will affect these costs. Rental companies tend to offer ad hoc and annual servicing arrangements, helping to prevent costly repairs and guaranteeing the longevity of equipment.
Max Wilson is director of Indoor Sport Services