Employees who walk 10,000 steps a day and work out in the gym three times a week tend to be more productive, an Australian clinical trial has found.

Managers, take note: Using a method to measure productivity in terms of money value, the study found that making 10,000 steps a day and sweating up in the gym three times a week yield $2500 worth of productivity annually to the company.

The Body-Brain Performance Institute, in conjunction with Swinburne University's Brain Sciences Institute, subjected 40 employees in April to a walking study which is aimed at finding possible links between walking and mental alertness, as well as response to stress.

The 40 employees came from SAP Melbourne, a global software company. Each was given a pedometer and assigned to a group.

The control group was given the task of achieving 10,000 steps a day. The second group also had to make 10,000 steps, but in addition undergo three resistance training sessions each week designed by the researchers.

The study says an average office worker walks 2000 to 3000 steps a day.

Over the following eight weeks, the employees' measurable components of brain function, including the ability to plan, remember, simulate future scenarios and make decisions, were measured using a neuropsychological test battery developed by the Swinburne institute.

Employees' alertness and energy levels were also measured, along with their levels of anger and stress.

The research showed a clear link between vigorous physical activity, increased brain function and reduced stress levels at work.

Using Harvard University's Productivity Questionnaire to translate the physical and cognitive improvement into a dollar value, the trial concluded that each member of the exercise group had contributed an additional $2500 worth of productivity annually to the company.

Professor Paul Taylor, who led the research, said the findings confirmed previous studies which showed vigorous exercise significantly increases happiness, productivity and cognition, and employers should be harnessing the advantages of exercise more in the workplace.

Don't be surprised if the human resources office asks you: How many steps do you make in a day, and how frequent are you at the gym?