Looking to boost morale in your workplace? You might have tried happy hours or team meetings, but so far nothing has seemed to work. Many employers find great success with office sports leagues because they provide opportunities for healthier workplaces and team building efforts. Try these seven tips for starting your own game today.

  1. Ask people to register

As we well know, exercise is crucial for people to stay healthy throughout their lives. Doing exercise at work offers great benefits to all who participate. Researchers have found long term health benefits associated with team sports. Office leagues also help employees bond with coworkers, boost morale, and build cohesion among staff.

The first step in starting an office sports league is to ask interested people in your workplace to register. In your introductory email, be sure to ask people to select a preferred form of communication. Whether it’s through texting, Facebook Messenger, or other means, make sure everyone knows how you’re going to spread the news.

  1. Choose your place and time of practice

Also, choose a location where all of your practices will take place. If your workplace is large enough and there is a gymnasium on campus, have your employees train there. If you need extra space or need to practice outdoors, select a court as close to your office as possible.

Due to family and life responsibilities, not all of your employees will be able to devote their entire evenings to office sports league. It’s wise to stick to their time by scheduling your workouts right after work.

  1. Select your league sport

Choose a sport based on the current season or the interest expressed by employees. Basketball is often a popular choice because it’s fairly straightforward to play – all you need is a ball and a at least three people in a team to start.

It is a good idea to start your office league with a sport like basketball, as this introduces your employees to the concept of a work league. It shows them how much commitment is needed and may cause them to consider forming other leagues, such as ultimate frisbee or baseball.

  1. Create your teams

Determine how you want to train your league teams. Do you want players to choose theirs? Do you want to allow departments to compete with each other, like HR versus IT? Would you perhaps prefer the league to provide the opportunity to break down some barriers in your office? If so, consider giving advice to players on how to choose their teams, but vary the units to your specifications.

Another option is to choose to play against another office or organization. There are adult sports leagues active in most major cities that your workplace could easily reach.

  1. Create your schedule

Now that you have your teams, training grounds, and sport, you are ready to set your league schedule. Remember that it is best to maintain consistent training hours and right after the end of the workday to honor your employees’ extra commitments. Some leagues offer hours of practice before the start of the workday. You can ask your players what they prefer.

As for the match schedule itself, consider hosting some matches on Friday afternoons, depending on the size of your league. Give other members of your team the opportunity to cheer on their favorite team. What better way to start the weekend, and what a great way to cheer up. While Friday afternoons aren’t an option for your workplace, Thursday evenings may be fine for people.

  1. Rent the appropriate equipment

Some of your employees may already own sports equipment. However, since this is your office league, you will want to make sure that you provide appropriate sports equipment for all participants. You don’t want to risk someone getting hurt because they were not properly equipped. It’s also a great idea to have league t-shirts made for your employees to boost morale and team spirit.

  1. Give a reward

Make sure the league knows what they are playing for. Is it lunch at a local restaurant? A trophy and the right to brag? Maybe you want to keep the fitness theme and give your winners a smart water bottle. Think carefully and be sure to consider the implications, as the reward you give early on will likely set a precedent for future leagues.

Start an office sports league today

Now that you know how to start an office league in your workplace, you’re just steps away from starting your own. Whether your employees are active participants or prefer to applaud on the sidelines, this is the ultimate win-win. Let the fun and the games begin.

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