Deciding on an Intramural Program for Your Business

“All work and no play” may not make Jack a dull boy, but it certainly does him no health favors.

A 2013 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that nearly 80 percent of North American adults don’t get the recommended amount of exercise each week. That’s not surprising, really. As a whole, the world is more sedentary than it has ever been, with modern teens being about as active as 60-year-olds.

That lack of physical activity brings with it some serious health issues, like heart disease and obesity. Not only that, but people who don’t exercise and who eat poorly tend to be less alert and less productive in the workplace.

Given these trends then, running an intramural program for your office could be essential for the health and well-being of your employees, while also creating camaraderie and improving morale.

There are a ton of well-documented benefits to regular exercise. Physical health and mental health are fundamentally connected to one another. Exercise is a great way to manage stress, reduce the risk of several serious diseases and avoid conditions such as back pain and osteoporosis.

You’re probably aware of a lot of this already — it’s why you’re looking into getting your workers up from their desks. So maybe what you’re stuck on isn’t whether you should start up an office sports league; it’s what sport everyone should play.

Don’t worry — figuring that out is actually a great deal easier than you might think. All you need to do is have a look at the following questions. Answer these and you’ll know everything you need to make an informed decision.

How Active Is Your Staff?

If most of the people in your office are couch potatoes then choosing an aggressive sport like soccer or football probably isn’t a good idea. After all, you’re looking to get people out of their chairs and moving around, not collapsed on the floor from exhaustion. You might want to start with something light and easy, like pingpong, badminton or volleyball.

That isn’t to say you can’t have some more competitive sports on the back burner. If there’s enough interest, you can always split your office into two leagues — competitive and noncompetitive. But make sure you know the interest is there first.

Speaking of which …

What Sports Are People Interested in?

Pay attention to the sports your employees talk about on a day-to-day basis. Do they seem interested in football or soccer? Are they always discussing the NHL? While it may not necessarily be the best way to make your decision, looking at what types of sports hold the most sway over your staff should definitely be taken into account.

Of course, if all else fails, why not just ask people what they want to play?

What Facilities Are Nearby?

Chances are pretty high that your building doesn’t include amenities like a tennis court or weight room. If it does, that’s awesome — you can make use of those for your workers. If not, pay attention to what sort of facilities are near you.

Is your office within walking distance of a great soccer field? Is there a nearby stadium you could rent out? A hockey rink? A swimming pool?

Where your business is located should play into your decision just as much as where employee interest lies.

What Supplies Do You Need, and How Easy Would It Be to Acquire Them?

Last but not least, let’s talk logistics.

Ideally you don’t want to choose a sport that requires you to buy a ton of equipment. Hockey, for example, requires a lot of protective gear for players — at least if you don’t want people getting injured. Conversely, games like soccer, racquetball and tennis require relatively little.

Whatever choice you make, just be certain your budget can cover it. While you could make the case for employees purchasing their own equipment, that’s a fine line you’ve got to be careful with. If there are staffers who don’t want to participate and who are forced to purchase gear on top of that, you could be looking at a serious morale problem in the near future.

Get Out There and Start Playing

That’s pretty much all there is to it! While there are certainly a few other things you’ll need to consider when setting up your league, this is everything involved in choosing a sport. You know everything you need to — all that’s left is to get things up and running.