Plutarch: Thoughts on People Management
Advantage: Sports in the Workplace
At Hunter-Miller we are an office of tennis fanatics (if you can't tell by the topical colour scheme) and have been ducking in and out of our reception – with its recently installed HD TV – to keep up with Wimbledon this year. On Thursday we eagerly awaited the women’s semi-final featuring Johanna Konta, the first British woman to reach this stage at Wimbledon for 39 years. Her phenomenal achievement this season has prompted us to think about the role of sport in professional lives, and we have asked you for your thoughts.
In the workplace the benefits of active employees is undeniable. A study at Bristol University showed that employees who can exercise at work are more productive, happy, efficient and calm. Plus, working out with someone else has been proven to help you stay committed and can also help a team to bond.
“At Wiggle we are passionate about sport. It is central to our brand" says Harvey Bennett, Group Chief Marketing and Sales Officer. “We actively encourage participation eg. we sponsor some of our own colleagues and provide kit to 'Team Wiggle', we encourage our colleagues to try new equipment and write blogs etc… We also provide bike sheds, lockers, changing and drying facilities to encourage sport before and after work. What we’ve found is that our colleagues now organise their own group sporting activities via our internal social media – from Thursday afternoon rides to pre-work runs and even cycling holidays in the Alps. This all helps to strengthen our team spirit and makes a real difference to the business.”
Even companies that are less overtly sport-centric can reap the benefits of encouraging their employees to stay active and build team spirit outside the office.
According to a report this year by the British Heart Foundation 20 million people in the UK are physically inactive. With 60% of our day spent at work they aim to encourage employers to introduce initiatives like 'e-mail free' days. For example, once a week staff would be forced to leave their desks to go and communicate with colleagues rather than send an internal e-mail.
We found that 60 of the FTSE100 have been significantly involved in sports sponsorship within recent years.
As well as offering great visibility to their brands, sponsorship allows businesses to give something back to sport and, by extension, to a more cohesive society. And the money they provide may well go to supporting the next Jo Konta – who can in turn raise the profile of the sport and indeed the brand.
We wish Jo all the best for the coming season and look forward to seeing her again at SW19 next year.
Plutarch in no way claims to offer comprehensive statistical reports – the absence of numbers reveals that much, and individual confidentially remains his priority. Nonetheless Hunter-Miller's vast network offers compelling anecdotal evidence, and some occasionally interesting insights.
What would you be interested to know? Get in touch.