Rather than trudging down to the coffee machine though, the turn-to activity becoming among forward thinking businesses is table tennis.
Ping pong, wiff-waff: call it what you will; is enjoyed by 101,000 people weekly according to the latest figures from Sport England’s Active People Survey.
Table Tennis England, the sport’s official governing body, has recognised this trend with the launch of Loop, an initiative to engage adults in social table tennis in a range of non-sporting settings, including the office
Loop introduces ping pong to the workplace, helping businesses of all sizes and across all industries bring the health and well-being benefits of physical activity to their employees.
Teamed up with Sport England and a series of equipment suppliers, Loop offers superb ‘Beat the Boss’ packages which include tables, bats, balls, trophies and heaps of games ideas at vastly discounted prices, starting at just £160 all inclusive!
The benefits are many. The obvious involves the feel good factor; engage your employees to interact with each other in a sociable setting and very soon you have a happier team with high employee morale.
But there are other benefits linked to productivity too; it’s been proved that table tennis increases concentration and stimulates brain function.
Ping pong is a great stress buster; and unlike most other physical activity, a game of table tennis requires no change of clothes, so you’ll be ready for the afternoon revitalised and buzzing, not feeling hot and sweaty and rushed.
Table tennis is uniquely inclusive; you don’t need to have any level of fitness or ability to play and enjoy the game and no special kit or footwear is required; making it ideal as a workplace activity.
Table Tennis England chief executive Sara Sutcliffe explains why she introduced a table into their head office in Milton Keynes: “Putting a table tennis table into our own offices was an obvious step but the response has been great. Within the staff we have some regular table tennis players and some complete novices but everyone enjoys having a go.
"We have run lunchtime ladders, knockout tournaments and ‘beat the robot’ competitions as well as just having a hit.
"As the chief executive, I get a lot out of seeing and hearing my staff having fun and interacting with each – a bit of healthy competition has definitely developed.
"It’s quite fun to challenge a client or customer to a quick hit when they come to our offices as well, a great ice breaker”.
Operationally, the health and safety risks are minimal; it’s relatively inexpensive and doesn’t take up too much floor space, you can even use the table for team meetings or, with a convertor kit (costing just £49.99), you can change your boardroom into a Ping Pong Arena!
Phil Smith, Sport England’s Director of Sport, said: “With increasingly busy lifestyles, it can often be difficult to find the time to be as active as we want to be. That’s why projects like Loop are so important. It takes sport right to people, and at the same time helps to bring people together like never before.”
Luton firm Form IT Solutions also has a table tennis table at its office in Luton. Chief executive Hugh Byrne said: “If you’re spending 40 odd hours a week at work you’ve got to have a break every so often otherwise you’d get faded and jaded, a table tennis table is there, so let’s go whack some balls around, then get back to what you’re doing with fresh eyes”.