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Employees get paid to exercise

Published by
March 19, 2019

The IT company Chili Security in Odense has introduced compulsory exercise during working hours. One of the reasons is to reduce sickness absence.

Employees at the IT company Chili Security receive full pay when they exercise twice a week for half an hour and then take a shower. The scheme was introduced at the turn of the year with the aim of reducing sickness absence, which is above the national average. But also, in the long term, to brand itself as the most attractive and healthiest workplace on Funen.

Exercise program is a good investment

The exercise scheme covers all 18 employees. This means, for example, that it costs the company 27 lost working hours per week.

- I don't see it as a loss, but as an investment. And it will pay off because people will be much more efficient and productive, and the general atmosphere will be improved," says Martin Larsen, director of the company, which provides PC support to private and business customers.

Specifically, he expects sick leave to fall in the short term. He estimates that this alone will cover the cost of the company "Prevent occupational injuries", which is responsible for the exercise concept and training. The focus is on elbow, wrist, shoulder and back, among other things.

Exercise at work helps employees

- These are typical challenges of screen-based work, which is one of the reasons why the scheme has been so well received. "I've already had employees tell me that it's easier to get up in the morning and that they've become better at showing up on time. It's great and confirms to me that we have made the right decision," he says, adding that he himself is also participating.

- I think it's an important signal. In the beginning, I was a bit stressed about having to leave work for 45 minutes. But I find that I become more focused. The brain benefits from a break," he says. Others were skeptical because the training took them out of their comfort zone.

- There are big differences in people's weight and fitness levels. That's why we had a good dialog with the employees before they laced up their sneakers. Among other things, we talked a lot about the fact that no one should be bullied. We can laugh together - not at each other," he says.

Exercise boosts job satisfaction

Receptionist Bolette Jørgensen agrees very much. A good laugh together is liberating and gives greater job satisfaction and a desire to help each other.

- We get to know each other in a different way. I find that we have become better at talking about things other than work tasks, says Bolette Jørgensen. As a single mother of two small children, she has so far found it difficult to find time for exercise in her spare time. That is why she is very pleased that the scheme is compulsory.

- Everyone knows how important it is to exercise. It means a lot for job satisfaction and motivation to be employed in a company that does something for your health in this way, she says.