Sports can cultivate a sense of camaraderie and team spirit, which can be brought back to the workplace.

“The Spirit of Sports: The spirit of sports gives each of us who participate an opportunity to be creative. Sports know no sex, age, race or religion. Sports give us all the ability to test ourselves mentally, physically and emotionally in a way no other aspect of life can. For many of us who struggle with ‘fitting in’ or our identity – sports gives us our first face of confidence. That first bit of confidence can be a gateway to many other great things!” – Dan O’Brien

Sports have a lot of lessons to teach those who are willing to learn. From getting better each day with practice to mastering the skills needed to excel as a team player – sports can be used as a tool to stimulate a healthy environment at the workplace. Sports are a great unifier in an environment of differences – It can help us see the bond that exists between us as players.  In today’s organizations separated by distance, time, language barriers, financial hardships, family obligations, and political views, introducing sports can help us instil oneness and camaraderie at the workplace.

Your company should now be on a journey to achieve its goals for the New Year. A sports event can be the perfect tool moving forward, to create a productive workplace environment and keep employees engaged through team building initiatives. A 2018 study by Randstad found that 79% of employees believe sporting events in the office greatly improves their levels of engagement at work. Read on to know more about the power that sports activities hold to engage your employees.

What are the benefits of sports at the workplace? 

Breaks silos

Sports, as a team building activity, help us realize that to win – you need work together with the top players (leaders) in the game to achieve the common goal of winning.

Creates an inclusive atmosphere

Being on a sports team gives everyone a feeling that they’re part of something that’s bigger than just getting the job done. Add to that – the mix of genders, diverse talents and knowledge that each one brings to the game. It’s a true representation of how we can overcome differences to reach our goals.

Become an employer of choice

Employee engagement through sports helps employees emotionally invest in the workplace by getting them out of their comfort zones, forgetting about work pressures and adding an element of fun to their working lives. This can be particularly attractive to potential employees, as they notice you are willing to go the extra mile for their overall wellbeing

Accomplishes your CSR goals

Sports can serve as a tool for community development, empowerment, skill development or investment in public health. It could be a coaching clinic, athletes visiting schools or giving kids an opportunity to witness a pro-level game, there are many ways to tie CSR objectives with your company sports program.

Factors that drive your sports program

Sports fans are abundant

Sports interest most working people, especially those who passionately watch sports leagues (e.g. IPL, EPL or the Pro Kabaddi League). Almost every sports fan engages in game discussions during the playing season and that is when you can also expect to receive higher participation.

Passion for sports and a desire to learn 

Most people excel, know or would like to try their hand at some sport. In most cases, the ones who are really good at a sport will encourage their colleagues to tag along with them.

Equalizer

Both men and women of different age groups can be equal participants in a sports match-up. And that’s the beauty of sports – it cuts across gender and age to make everyone feel welcomed. The only thing that matters most is playing to your best ability as a team or individual.

A social activity that’s easy on the pocket 

Forget expensive brunches, try sports activities (e.g. running or swimming) as they are relatively inexpensive and employees get a chance to lead healthier lives together with their colleagues and indulge in fun outside work. This aspect will drive participation as it is beneficial to your workforce.

A quick guide to planning your sports roadmap

An employer who cares about its workforce’s health, and plans engagements to keep them fit and happy, is the preferred employer for today’s workforce.

Think that a full-fledged sports program is not something that your office will benefit from? Think again. Smaller clubs of sports activities (e.g. basketball, running or yoga clubs) can fail to meet the task of building your brand image. You need a full-scale company led initiative to really drive engagement. Here’s how you can start:

Step 1: Pick the sport(s)

It’s easy to get lost in a debate about which sport you should introduce at the workplace. Don’t waste your time and quickly launch a poll or a survey before you begin the picking process. This will ensure that you have the employee input you need to launch your program the right way.

Step 2: Get the philosophy right

What is the purpose of your sports program? Does it have a specific philosophy that it can attribute itself to? Your philosophy can be to instil life skills such as work ethic, morals and leadership that employees can carry with them throughout their lives. This is important as the thinking behind your program can help employees build a deeper connect and encourage greater participation in the program.

Step 3: Set goals

In your plan, clearly spell out the goals you want to achieve through the sports activities in a given quarter. It could range from better workforce morale to recording employee health statistics. The best way to track your goals is to invest in metrics so that you don’t fail to account for all the improvements and drawbacks.

Step 4: Create a brand

Give your sports program a face-lift with a visual identity that will create a buzz around the events. Design a logo, create giveaways to be distributed (e.g. t-shirts, mugs etc.) and prominently display the program offerings around the office using standees, wobblers, danglers. Also, send reminders using regular email communications to increase awareness.

Step 5: Start a website

Your website will serve as a hub for all past, present and upcoming activities. From here employees should be able to register for events, look-up the schedule or know of any important announcements pertaining to the program. It also serves as a platform for receiving feedback, uploading pictures, engaging employees with online activities and more.

Step 6: Schedule it right

You’ve done the groundwork and now it’s time to pick the event date, time and location. Make sure you set these details months in advance to ensure they don’t clash with other important events or holidays. Roll out the communication accordingly and double check to ensure you get all the fixtures right. Mixing indoor, outdoor, team and individual sports activities across different office and external locations, across the year, is a great way to keep it fresh and exciting!

In our experience, we have managed the sports calendars, year on year for one of the top auditing firms in the country. The events were held across 21 locations in 10 cities, have engaged over 18,000+ employees. We planned a yearly calendar with the perfect mix of outdoor, indoor and online activities. To know more about how it helped them engage employees, click here.

Feel like your company is ready for an engaging sports program? We can help you kick-start one with the help of our experienced team. Reach out to us today!

Call us on +91 80500 58002/3 or email us at reachus@thefullerlife.com to know more.

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