Productivity is one of the great challenges of economic development – how do we raise the level of productivity in individual businesses and across the UK as a whole? Through the work that I have been progressing on a sport and physical activity growth plan with Innovas for Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership and Leicestershire and Rutland Sport, I have been thinking about the links between sport and productivity.
I know when I am really busy, taking time out for a 30 minute run, reinvigorates me and allows fresh thinking. I am more productive than I would have been, had I sat at my desk for those 30 minutes. Even if it is just a walk round the block we often feel better for that fresh air and moderate exercise.
But this is not often talked about as a key factor in business productivity. Productivity is considered in terms of business culture, management approaches, processes and systems, ICT and the buildings in which we work. However for most of us, our health drives our productivity and sport and physical activity are key determiners of our physical and mental wellbeing – and how we perform each day.
In speaking to many stakeholders about the sport and physical activity growth plan, there are lots of people out there seeing this relationship and trying to push it forward through engaging businesses and persuading them of the positive impact on the bottom line. It has yet to take hold with businesses more broadly but lots of initiatives are happening. More measurement of impact is needed to generate greater engagement.
Colleges are seeing sport as key in supporting greater employability – it offers leadership opportunities, work experience and motivation to young people. This is another way of seeing greater productivity in the economy overall – engagement in physical activity – and skills development.
It feels to me that despite the barriers of there being too many initiatives and engagement is always difficult, looking at sport and physical activity to add value to the economic growth of UK PLC as well as the health of the nation would be a worthwhile step to take.