Corporate fitness center design is a critical step in the development of an onsite employee fitness center. In our experience few employers really understand how critical corporate fitness center design is to the success or failure of their employee gym. Here we explain what it is, why it’s important and give you some tips for success.
What is Corporate Fitness Center Design?
Corporate fitness center design is a phrase used to describe the development of the architectural plans and the functional amenities and specifications to be used in a company gym. The types of things associated with this include the design of the room or building, layout of the equipment, the heating and air conditioning requirements, the functional amenities you include (showers, lockers, bike racks, etc.), the types of flooring used, usage and placement of mirrors and televisions and much more.
Why is Corporate Fitness Center Design Important?
Corporate fitness center design has a direct impact on utilization rates and employer liability. Logic and research supports the fact that well designed corporate fitness centers get higher utilization rates than their poorly designed counterparts. Who wants to workout in a space where there isn’t adequate air conditioning? How many employees will workout at lunch if there aren’t locker rooms and showers available for them to use?
Corporate fitness center design can also increase or mitigate an employer’s exposure to liability. Following are some examples of potential liability issues associated with corporate fitness center design:
- Ventilation: Poor ventilation can cause people to overheat and increase the risk of heart attack.
- Flooring: Cheap flooring in a group exercise room can result in increased risk of knee and joint problems.
- Mirrors: Failure to provide properly placed mirrors can increase the risk of a person getting hurt because they are unable to check their form.
- Treadmills: Failure to leave enough room behind treadmills can result in additional injuries when people are entering and exiting the treadmill.
- Televisions: Failure to properly place televisions can increase the chance of injury. This is especially true when using a treadmill. Televisions should be placed directly in front of treadmills. This reduces the risk that a person will inadvertently step off the belt of the treadmill and get injured.
- Locker Rooms / Changing Rooms / Showers: Sexual harassment and associated risks can be better managed through properly designed locker rooms and facilities.
- Lighting: Failure to provide good interior and exterior lighting can increase the risk of personal injury and safety related issues.
- Used or Refurbished Equipment: Saving money by purchasing used or refurbished equipment can seem like a great idea but it can also expose you to additional liability. It’s often difficult to tell just how worn a piece of equipment is so extra care must be taken when purchasing or considering used equipment.
Corporate Fitness Center Design Tips
Following are some tips related to corporate fitness center design:
Hire a Professional: There’s a lot at stake so make sure you work with someone that specializes in corporate fitness center design. Few local architects and even fewer local gyms can help with this sort of thing. That may seem obvious to you, but I know of at least one Fortune 500 company that turned to a local gym for help designing and setting up three corporate fitness centers. Within a year of opening an employee filed a lawsuit over an issue that could have been avoided if they’d worked with a company that specializes in corporate fitness center design.
Equipment Matters: Selecting the right equipment can facilitate utilization and mitigate your exposure to liability. It’s best to purchase commercial grade equipment vs. equipment that’s designed for home use. Commercial grade equipment will last longer, has lower maintenance costs and can be safer for participants. This is another place where working with a professional can make a big difference. They can help with selection and often have access to significant discounts that local gyms would not be able to offer.