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Lead Your Team Managing

Keep Employees Fit with Financial Incentives

. / Credit: Money Image via Shutterstock

As the chillier weather sets in, you and your employees may find yourselves wanting to order a warm, filling soup delivered to the office instead of heading out for a cold salad when lunchtime rolls around. The best way to beat winter weight gain is to maintain an exercise routine, but how can you motivate your office to stay fit? New research suggests that financial incentives can inspire people to stick with their daily workouts.

Marc Mitchell, a University of Toronto Ph.D. candidate, and professors Jack Goodman and Guy Faulkner conducted a study of heart disease patients who needed to maintain the fitness regimen they started during a cardiac rehabilitation program.

"Patients do great during the six-month program, but a lot of them stop exercising after they leave," Mitchell said. "The idea is to offer a modest incentive to facilitate the transition to independent exercise."

[Healthy Workers Are Productive Workers]

The patients were offered small financial rewards such as parking and grocery vouchers each time they submitted a daily exercise log through an online portal. The incentives were given even if patients submitted an empty entry, simply to encourage self-monitoring and an increased awareness of their exercise habits.

This research can easily be applied to officewide fitness efforts, especially as the colder months (and holiday baking season) approach. Encourage employees to hit the gym and fill out a daily or weekly log of their workout time. Give employees coupons or vouchers to favorite restaurants or stores near the office for each submitted log. You can even offer a small cash prize to the employee that logs the most exercise over a certain period.

This study was based on a review of 1,500 patients transitioning out of Toronto Rehab's cardiac program.

Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.

Nicole Fallon

Nicole received her Bachelor's degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University. She began freelancing for Business News Daily in 2010 and joined the team as a staff writer three years later. She currently serves as the managing editor. Reach her by email, or follow her on Twitter.