One of the questions most people ask me when I tell them that I work for a gym is if everyone is really fit here. Since I work in the corporate headquarters and the nearest club is 20 minutes away, the answer varies. While the majority of my coworkers don’t put fitness at the top of their priority list like I do, there are a handful of them who value a good sweat session.
One of the ways that our company encourages good health is through our bi-monthly lunchtime yoga program. Twice a month my company pays a yoga instructor to walk us through a an hour and fifteen minute routine which leaves me relaxed and stress-free. Although I can’t always participate, I greatly appreciate my company’s generosity in offering this dose of lunchtime bliss.
Companies across America are offering incentives to employees for maintaining good health. From more apparent approaches such as health and wellness newsletters, gym membership reimbursement, educational speakers, skill building sessions (think weight management or stress management classes) to less obvious methods such as providing bike racks, supplying healthy snacks in the lunch room, and encouraging flexible work schedules to allow employees to make fitness a priority, the wellness of its employees is a big concern for most companies.
So why do companies care? In addition to being proven that healthy, stress free employees provide more value to a company productivity-wise, the primary reason that companies invest in healthy incentives is because it brings health insurance and healthcare costs down. The typical employer spends about $8,000 on healthcare for each employee annually. If an employee is fit and healthy, those costs are less.
Preventative care is much less expensive than treatment. If companies can reduce its employees waistlines, blood pressure and cancer risk, it will reduce its healthcare costs down the line. According to WellnessInTheWorkplace.net, a research study showed that “corporations using Workplace Wellness Programs had a return on investment (ROI) from $1.49 – $13 in benefits per dollar spent. The amount depended on the nature of the Workplace Wellness Programs used.”
San Diego Companies Take Fitness Seriously
My favorite of all the ways a company can promote wellness is by providing access to FREE fitness – either by providing free classes or having an on-site gym. Many companies in San Diego besides my own offer workplace workouts. Qualcomm, San Diego’s largest publicly held company, not only has a well-appointed gym in each building, it also offers fitness classes such as boot camps, Pilates, aerobics and Zumba. The Active Network which is also headquartered in San Diego, is arguably the most “active” company in San Diego, offering its employees not only several workout classes per week (including a popular boot camp type class called Active X), but also bike lockers, an Olympic sized swimming pool, and discount registration to local races. The Active Network is known for having a large presence at running and triathlon events, embodying their business model. I even heard that another San Diego company allows its employees to arrive at work late or take a long lunch so that they can get a surf session in at the local beach.
I find it encouraging in the age of increasing obesity that companies are taking action at making their employees healthier, even if they are doing it to increase their bottom line. In the end, it’s a win-win situation for everyone.
Do you have a corporate wellness program? If so, do you take advantage of it?