Dubai: How 'fitness breaks' at work can help boost employees' productivity

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


Sahim Salim

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Published: Sun 21 Nov 2021, 2:13 PM

Last updated: Mon 29 Nov 2021, 10:13 AM

'Fitness breaks' during work hours can help boost employees' morale and productivity, a top official has said. Such breaks can range from having quick desk stretches to a proper run. They reduce employees' risks of having a sedentary lifestyle, "especially since many of them work for long hours on a desk".

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

  • Employees coming back from a fitness break tend to be more attentive and focused, while it also improves their motivation and productivity.
  • Building a healthy working 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 the rate of absenteeism is reduced as a result of having an active lifestyle, and adding fitness breaks during working hours contributes to that.

What companies can do to get staff moving

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

"Employers can provide workout and awareness sessions during and after office hours, and provide 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 set them in a different space".

More flexibility can be granted to employees' working schedules "to give them more options to work out in 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 well.

As a partner and participant in the challenge, the Dubai Chamber has hosted multiple events for employees.

"We start by surveying employees' interests and then plan the events accordingly. We always make sure that the activities are inclusive of everyone's interest and capabilities," she said. "We organised activities during and after working hours throughout the month."

Events hosted for employees included a hike to Wadi Hilo; a laser tag game in office premises; boxing classes; healthy lifestyle talks; and distribution of healthy snacks to each employee.


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Evolution of the fitness challenge since 2017

"The technology used in tracking 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 special with the Expo 2020," said Al Madani.

Al Madani also had a message to those who are yet to take up the challenge: "Give it a try – you will be surprised with what you can achieve and will thoroughly enjoy the sense of camaraderie and sportsmanship."

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