Swedish sportswear firm tells workers: Exercise or leave

World Today

A Swedish sportswear company is forcing its staff to exercise, or leave. And the employees said they like it.

CGTN’s Guy Henderson reports.

A sportswear company named for the Swedish tennis star Bjorn Borg requires its employees to work out together – or lose their jobs.

The staff gets together at a Stockholm gym one morning a week for an hour of exercise.

“It’s something that actually gives energy rather than sending 100 emails, which takes energy,” says Andrea Hegethorn, the company’s trade marketing manager. “You need the energy to actually manage 100 emails.”

The company carries out annual physical tests on workers to track their progress. Management also allows workers to exercise at other times during work hours.

The boss, Henrik Bunge, is no stranger to fitness; he once set a world record for an unsupported trek to the South Pole.

“We know that training brings something more out of you,” Bunge said. “You’ll be stronger, happier, better-looking, all that good stuff. The difference between asking people to train and making it compulsory is that you also make it happen. You turn it into a habit.”
A swedish economist and author says the mandatory aspect of the program is worrisome.

“What happens to those people who don’t live up to those expectations,” asks Carl Cederstrom, author of “Desperately Seeking Self-improvement.” What will organizations miss out on – people who are really great at their work, but who don’t like to exercise and particularly don’t like to exercise at work.”