What’s Your Role?


Employers Icon

What’s Your Role?


Employers Icon

As an employer, you can help improve the health of your employees and create healthier communities by promoting physical activity in your workplace and surrounding community.

On average, Americans who work full-time spend nearly 8 hours a day at their worksite. Employers like you are in a unique position to promote physical activity and potentially affect the health of millions of working adults.

For example, you can make it easier for your employees to add physical activity to their daily lives by providing access to on-site gyms and walking paths. You can also provide discounts for active commuting. These actions will create a culture of health in the workplace.

You can even take actions outside the workplace to help improve the surrounding community. For example, you can promote activity-friendly routes from people’s homes to local worksites and other important destinations.

You can also encourage employees who are working remotely to be physically active at their location of work or in their community. This will be especially important as more employers allow their employees to work from home.

Worksite Physical Activity Can Improve Employee Health and Save Money

Using worksite wellness programs that promote physical activity can help you create a healthier workforce, which can mean lower health care costs for both you and your employees.

Worksite wellness programs can also:

  • Increase employee productivity.
  • Reduce absenteeism.
  • Increase employee morale.
  • Help you attract and keep high-quality employees.

You can encourage physical activity through multiple approaches, such as offering management support, access to facilities, and social support programs. Regardless of the size, resources, setting, or type of your workplace, there are many ways to help your employees be more physically active.

Want more proven ways to increase physical activity?

Active People, Healthy NationSM has many strategies that work. Visit the website to find options that fit your needs. Look for ways to collaborate with other sectors.

You Can Help Make Your Community Healthier

Your efforts can go beyond the worksite and into the surrounding community. You can lead efforts to promote physical activity through public-private partnerships across multiple sectors.

For example:

  • You can work with other groups in your community to promote plans or policies to improve conditions for safe and accessible walking, biking, and wheelchair rolling near your worksite and in the local community.
  • If you are looking for a new worksite location, you can choose one that allows employees to walk, bike, or use public transportation when commuting.

These changes may help others in your community—such as retirees, future workers, and your employees’ family members—be more active and improve the local economy.

Man stretching at office

What Can You Do in the Workplace?

You can use the following strategies to encourage physical activity among your employees:

Promote worksite programs and policies that support physical activity.

  • Provide access to facilities, locations, and programs that help your employees be physically active.
  • Use policies and incentives to encourage physical activity. Examples include offering flextime and paid activity breaks to employees and adding short bursts of activity or stretching into meetings. You can also provide discounts for off-site exercise facilities or active commuting options.
  • Set up walking clubs or competitions that encourage and motivate employees to meet individual or team goals.

Get involved in local efforts to create safe and accessible ways for people to be physically active in the local community.

  • Support the design of streets, sidewalks, and crosswalks that encourage walking, biking, rolling, and other forms of physical activity for people of all ages and abilities.
  • Support safe, efficient, and easy-to-use public transit systems and transit-oriented development.
  • Support community planning, land use, development, and zoning policies and plans that support walking and other forms of physical activity for people of all ages and abilities.

Educate your employees about the benefits of safe physical activity and places to walk, bike, roll, and be active.

  • Communicate specific information about physical activity to your employees.
  • Put up signs and maps that help people find safe places to be active.
  • Provide information about accessibility for people with mobility or other limitations.
  • Give employees who are working remotely information about how to be physically active at their location of work or in their community.
Business woman commuting on bike

What Other Organizations Are Doing

These employers are using effective strategies to increase physical activity in their worksites and communities. Read about their efforts to get ideas for your workplace.

Creating Long-Term Change in Massachusetts [PDF-1.81MB]
When officials in the Town of Fairhaven, Massachusetts learned that more than half of their 500 employees wanted to be more active, they made it a workplace wellness priority. They partnered with a local community fitness center to offer on-site yoga and boot camp classes for employees. They also worked with other organizations in the local community to enhance the Phoenix Bike Trail, which is the Fairhaven segment of the South Coast Bikeway. The bikeway is designed to connect residential and business neighborhoods in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Creating a Culture of Movement in Utah [PDF-2.33MB]
Intermountain Healthcare is a not-for-profit health system based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Among its more than 39,000 employees, physical activity was identified as a top concern. To address this concern, the system’s LiVe Well program focused on creating a culture of movement in the workplace. It developed meeting guidelines that added movement breaks and allowed time for stretching and walking between meetings. It used posters to encourage movement throughout the day. It also provided environmental supports, such as on-site bike storage and showers, and encouraged leaders to support and promote physical activity in the workplace.

Promoting Biking to Work in California
In 2018, Mixte Communications, a small public relations firm in San Diego, California, received a Bicycle Friendly Business Gold designation from the League of American Bicyclists. The company’s leadership encouraged its employees to bike to work by providing accessible showers, a flexible dress code, and official bike parking. They also provided workshops on bike maintenance and navigation. By actively promoting a culture of biking among its staff, Mixte also helped promote physical activity and better health.

Resources to Help You

Connect with Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity