S2E12: How to make a success of your physical activity project in companies?

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S2E12: How to make a success of your physical activity project in companies?
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Promoting physical activity in the workplace is a great start! Building a program that will last over time is the ultimate goal!

Who better than Kim Lalanne, Partnership Strategy and Customer Experience Advisor at M361, to enlighten us on the subject?

Daniel : First of all, can you explain to us what is Actiz?

Kim : Actiz is an initiative of M361 and the Ministry of Education, which aims to promote physical activity within Quebec SMEs. In other words, we are facilitators of the process.

Daniel : In your opinion, what is the number 1 mistake that companies make when they start an internal process of promoting physical activity?

Kim : There is not really a major error detected, but many preconceived ideas. In fact, when people think of physical activity in a company, they often believe that it requires a gym or important equipment.

I also very often hear comments that the process is expensive, that the facilities require too much space or that it is aimed at a sports clientele.

In reality, this is totally false: there are a host of simple and accessible options in order to achieve our ends.

Another thing that I hear or see often is the desire to be accompanied by a professional, a kinesiologist for example. This is far from being a bad thing in itself, but we must make sure that this person knows the reality of the company and that he is there to support him in his efforts.

Daniel : What are the best practices when it comes to starting the promotion of physical activity in the workplace?

Kim : First and foremost, the most important thing is to get a clear commitment from the organization. Indeed, obtaining it greatly facilitates the procedures.

Unfortunately, it sometimes happens that the management is not inclined to the project. It is therefore necessary to put together an argument in order to demonstrate the advantages of implementing a physical activity program.

The second step would then be to designate people responsible for the project or, in the case of larger organizations, to form a committee.

The third step, for its part, is to draw up a portrait of the situation in the company. Questions such as the following should be considered:

  • Where is the business now ?;
  • What conditions are favorable or not in relation to the practice of physical activity ?;
  • What is the opinion of the employees ?;
  • What are the needs and interests of employees ?;
  • And many more

The important thing is to get everyone's opinion because the beauty of a company is the diversity of its employees. So, when starting a process to promote physical activity, we must keep this diversity in mind in order to put in place several measures that will appeal to as many people as possible. It is essential to think of everyone, but especially those who are less active.

Finally, as a last step, it is advisable to set goals and then decide on the course of action.

We strongly recommend small steps since the important thing is to get started. You should also not be afraid of making mistakes since it allows you to probe the ground and know what is working well or not.

The website as well as the newsletters ofActiz contain a wealth of information and tools on these various stages such as ideas for building an argument, advice for forming a committee, etc.

Daniel : What is the difference between structuring initiatives and those which are qualified as non-structuring? Which one should we favor?

Kim : Structuring initiatives are projects created by and for the company. They are therefore adapted to the company and promote individual and collective commitment through a unifying and mobilizing project.

We could think, for example, of the development of a sports facility in a workplace, the purchase of sports or outdoor equipment, accommodation programs, the offer of training and workshops. , etc.

Non-structuring initiatives, for their part, are one-off projects, but which do not promote the commitment of the person to a regular practice over the long term. We are talking about a sporting event without a preparatory period or a sporting outing for example.

Structuring initiatives are favored since they allow employees to develop a habit that will ensure that regular physical activity will last over time. These initiatives will also make it possible to integrate into the functioning of the organization.

Daniel : In your opinion, which projects generate the least investment and require the least effort?

Kim : When we keep in mind that the number 1 obstacle is time, initiatives that allow a better work-family balance are optimal. We can therefore think of measures to facilitate schedules such as starting later, ending earlier, an extended hour of dinner, etc. I am aware that these measures do not apply to all companies, but if it is possible, it is very beneficial.

The promotion and installation of equipment for active commuting is also an excellent time-saving measure.

Regardless of the method chosen, the one taken for and by the company is the one that is most likely to work and to continue.

Daniel : The concepts of sustainable development and promotion of physical activity are very popular these days. Is it possible to combine these two trends?

Kim : Absolutely! We can think of active travel such as walking, cycling or even public transport. These modes of travel can be encouraged not only for work but also on a daily basis, especially in a context of telework, as we currently experience it.

In the aspect of the offer, one can think of creating partnerships with services which are close to the office or the residence of the employees. Whether promoting the municipality's recreation program, the community center, the swimming pool or even the arena, the use of nearby resources allows a fine combination of sustainable development and the promotion of physical activity.

Daniel : Finally, what has been the impact of the pandemic on your work?

Kim : The pandemic has brought about many changes in people's habits, but it has also greatly increased their awareness of the benefits of physical activity and the outdoors, especially on mental health.

The current context has therefore probably made companies aware of the importance of physical activity. I would therefore say that the pandemic we are currently experiencing is making things happen and represents an excellent time to undertake the promotion of physical activity in the workplace.

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