NCSEM-EM research has found that playing table tennis in the workplace is positively associated with employee wellbeing.
Research shows that one in four people will struggle with mental health at some point in their life and that 70 million work days are lost in the UK every year due to mental illness – making it the leading cause of absence from work.
Loughborough University’s Dr Florence Kinnafick worked with Table Tennis England, as part of their Loop at Work programme, to explore the impact of playing table tennis at work on employee job satisfaction, workplace wellbeing, physical activity levels and general wellbeing.
The employees in the study predominantly played table tennis in their lunchbreak as a way to take a break from their work, destress and unwind, as well as using it as a place to catch up with colleagues. People who played table tennis in the workplace reported better overall mood and wellbeing compared to those who didn’t.
The research also found that those who regularly played table tennis experienced significantly higher job satisfaction than those who played less frequently, and that they reported greater competence in the workplace and connectedness with their colleagues.
The study also looked at people’s motivation to exercise and found that people playing table tennis regularly had a higher quality motivation – meaning they were more likely to be driven to exercise by enjoyment and satisfaction and therefore more likely to continue with the activity over time.
Dr Kinnafick from the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences at Loughborough University, said: “This project strengthens the argument that workplaces should encourage activities that promote workplace wellbeing to achieve overall health. Our exploratory findings indicate that table tennis in the workplace is one way that this can be achieved.”