Most people would probably agree that a healthy sales organization performs better. There are also plenty of scientific evidence for the link between the health of the staff and their performance. But are you prepared to allow workout during work hours? To replace an hour of prospecting or customer contact with an hour of exercise? And can it pay off? There are good reasons to believe so, at least according to an article in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management.
Three British researchers have investigated the link between workout during work hours and performance. The study included 200 office workers who had to keep a diary of their performance at work during both “workout days” and “non-workout days”. All had access to a training facility in connection to the workplace, but the choice to work out was optional.
The results are sensational. They clearly show that on days when the staff worked out during work hours their performance increased in most areas. Most of all, the workout days made the participants of the study more goal-oriented, stress resistant and, not least, more motivated and energetic. Important variables for many professions, and particularly for sales people!
Workout during work hours creates goal-orientation
It is often said that sales people shall have a certain “drive", and indeed sales is a "numbers game". As long as one does the right things, the one with the highest activity will perform better. Prosales Institute has also shown in several previous studies that goal-oriented and conscientuous individuals performs better in sales (something you should take into consideration when recruiting).
The British study is interesting since it showed that the participants became more goal-oriented and conscientuos during workout days. 79% of the participants got more work done during training days due to a focusing more on their tasks, carrying out planned activities to a greater extent, taking fewer unplanned breaks and completing their tasks faster.
Workout during work hours improves stress resistance
Sales can be a stressful profession, a constant struggle to reach new monthly, quarterly and annual goals. Sales performance is also partially outside your own control, and to be dependent on other people´s decisions builds up stress. Thus, to perform in sales the sales people need to have a strong ability to manage stress.
The study showed in this area too that workout during the work day had a positive effect as it improves the ability to cope with stress and also gave the participants a more stable mood.
Workout during work hours provides motivation and energy
Sometimes it takes longer to close a deal and you may need some new input to keep up the good work. Sales people need motivation and energy to be able to do a good job over time. The study showed that the participants with “workout days” were both more motivated and got new energy from carrying out the exercise.
The conclusion is clear – workout at work has a direct impact on staff performance. This means that you, the sales manager, should allow and create opportunities for individual workout during work hours. The study also shows that people don't have to run marathons or triathlons. The extent of the workout is less important for the outcome and even small sessions of workout have the same effect.
Ph.D. Markus Ejenäs, ProSales Institute