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Creating an active workplace culture doesn’t need to be expensive and can increase the productivity of your staff.

It’s easy, small changes which can bring big benefits.

Working adults spend over 60% of their waking hours at work so employers and places of work play a crucial role in supporting health and wellbeing. 


A lot of our jobs include a computer... which usually means a desk and a chair leading, too often, to a sedentary day. 

How often do you move away from your screen during the day?  Do you feel that you, or your colleagues, in order to be seen as working need to be sat at a desk from 9-5?

People’s minds work best in different conditions, and our bodies are designed to move more throughout the day to stay healthy.

Sitting at a desk for long periods of time will not be the most productive way of working, and it isn’t good for the health of our employees.

Creating a workplace culture that allows employees to have the autonomy to move within the working day can reap numerous benefits, for the individual and the business;

  • Physically active employees take 27% less sick days
  • Improve staff morale
  • Increase staff retention
  • Increase productivity
  • Decrease the risk of depression
  • Reduce likelihood of musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions
  • Manage stress and anxiety
  • Improve sleep
  • Encourage socialisation and connection with others

At GM Moving we work collaboratively with employers to design more movement into everyday life and support Greater Manchester residents to live well and stay healthy for longer. 

We support workplaces to create the conditions, and foster a culture, that will enable and empower employees to feel comfortable moving more in their working day.

Leaders at the highest level of the organisation should demonstrate movement and well-being through their actions. By setting an example, they encourage employees to prioritise their health during the workday and develop a culture where moving becomes the norm and not exclusive, different or questioned.


Like management styles or communications preferences, everyone is different -  
 what motivates one person to move more will differ in someone else.

It’s strongly recommended you involve staff in the creation of any new policies, or movement options that you plan on making available.

You may think it’s a brilliant idea to get a staff table tennis table, but if asked, the majority of staff might  prefer a half-mile walking route for their lunch break or standing/walking desks. 

Here’s some top tips to create a workplace culture that is inducive to creating a healthy, active workplace.

  • Allow “active soles”: Comfortable shoes and workwear that encourage people to move throughout the day.
  • Walking Meetings: Support and encourage staff to take meetings outside for a walk and talk.
  • 10-Minute Blasts: Allow paid time daily for bouts physical activity and “brain breaks”.
  • Active Commutes: Incentivise cycling or walking to work and promote events like Walk to Work day.
  • Themed Days: Schedule regular active days like Moving Monday or Walking Wednesdays
  • Local Activity Links: Connect with local sports clubs, parks, or leisure centres
  • Walking route- Mile/ half-mile walking route around your local area

Active Travel

  • Cycle Parking: Provide secure cycle storage
  • Cycle to Work Schemes: Enable employees to buy bikes and accessories through salary sacrifice.
  • Business Mileage for Cycling: Pay 20p/mile for cycling on business trips.
  • Pool Bikes and Hire Schemes: Offer shared company bikes.
  • Promote Campaigns: Support initiatives like Cycle September and GM Walking Festival.

Measuring impact

As with most things in business, it’s important to measure if something is having a positive impact.  Are your team feeling healthier and happier? Has productivity increased?  This can be done in a number of ways;

  • Staff Wellbeing Survey – Measure over time – do staff feel more present at work, has morale increased, do they report improvements in their own physical and mental health?
  • Productivity – You should be able to see the productivity of your staff improve as they increase their physical activity levels.
  • Absenteeism – You may be able to see if there is a change in levels of absence after an active workplace plan or initiatives have been implemented, and has it affected certain health condition 
  • Share stories – Use a staff newsletter, email or Intranet to share how employees have improved their health as a result of being more active in work.

Next Steps 

We’re taking action on workplace wellbeing with our GM Business Hub x GM Moving collaborative webinar. Save the date Wednesday 24th July for our Small steps, Big Movement: Taking action on Wellbeing and creating an Active Workplace. 

Business Growth Hub | Small steps, Big Movement: Taking action on Wellbeing and creating an Active Workplace

Further support 

For more information, head to the GM Moving website where our Active Workplace Toolkit supports GM employers to create the conditions for happier, healthier staff through movement or contact Julia Skelly

Get in touch

Take that first step and we’ll support you with whatever you need to succeed.


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