April 05, 2017

Should exercise be compulsory at work and should employers pay for it?

Should exercise be compulsory at work and should employers pay for it?

Tech CEO Ryan Holmes has made a passionate case for exercise becoming part of the working day in a first-person article entitled Why It’s Time We Paid Employees to Exercise at Work. And he’s suggested that bosses pay for it.

His social media company Hootsuite has 700 employees and he encourages exercise before, during, and after working hours in the small on-site gym. Activities include yoga classes, bootcamps and cross-training classes, hikes, and hockey.

Holmes believes it’s more than worth it, saying, “I see employees return from workouts refreshed and better focused on their jobs. Time lost on exercise is made back and more in terms of improved productivity.” Promoting exercise at work improves the health of staff, which means fewer absences due to illness.

Michael Lechner has written for IZA World of Labor on Sports, exercise, and labor market outcomes. The article finds and that increasing participation in sports and exercise can boost productivity and earnings. He says that, “Analyzing data from the GSOEP, one study finds that men who practice sports at least once a week earn 5% more than men who do not. The study also looks at the impact of youth sports on current earnings and finds that women who were involved in sports at age 15 earn about 6% more than women who were not.”

For more articles on sport and labor market outcomes, visit