Definition of Corporate Fitness
Corporate fitness is a phrase used to describe physical activity and exercise related programs that are implemented by an employer. The goal of corporate fitness programs is to increase the amount of physical activity that an employee gets.
Why Corporate Fitness Programs?
You may wonder why an employer would care about the amount of physical activity that an employee gets? The reasons are simple, logical and well supported by research. Physically active employees are less likely to be overweight, have fewer chronic health conditions, have lower levels of stress, miss fewer days of work and are more productive than their sedentary co-workers. By helping employees become more physically active a corporation can lower health care costs, decrease sick days and increase productivity.
In fact, research shows that the average wellness program ROI is about 3:1 over a 36-month period. Meaning that for every $1 invested in wellness programs the average employer can expect to save about a $3 on health care costs and about $3 on absenteeism. Not a bad return-on-investment.
Type of Corporate Fitness Programs
There are many types of corporate fitness programs available. They vary greatly in complexity, price and effectiveness. Examples of corporate fitness programs include:
- Walking programs
- Onsite corporate fitness centers
- Onsite exercise classes
- Onsite personal training or group training
- Reimbursing the cost of a gym membership or subsidizing the cost of a gym membership
- Arranging for discounted memberships through local or national gyms
- Fitness challenges and contests
- Seminars and presentations about physical activity
- Stairwell initiatives – encouraging the use of the stairs vs. taking the elevator
- Online fitness tools and applications
- Providing incentives for physical activity
- Reimbursing the cost of certain fitness items (exercise bands, stability balls, etc.)
- Having flexible schedules that allow employees more time to exercise before work or after work
- Having “walking meetings vs. sitting in a conference room.
- Installing bike racks so that employees can bike to work.
Successful Corporate Fitness Programs
Successful corporate fitness programs generally involve some type of incentive that rewards employees for being physically active. The fact is that most people are not intrinsically motivated to be physically active. Time constraints, work, family obligations, etc all conspire to make it difficult for people to find (or make) the time to exercise. To change that requires some type of incentive. The key is to find out what incentives motivate your employees to be more active and then use that to leverage increased rates of participation and physical activity.
Corporate Fitness Programs: Liability Issues
Companies need to be careful when implementing corporate fitness programs. We always recommend that organizations check with their attorney and their liability insurance provider to make sure that they are not putting the business at risk by implementing these types of programs.
You’ll probably need liability waivers and other documents to help protect the business, but most of this is easily and inexpensively taken care of. If you’re working with a third-party company to implement this type of program then they’ll likely have the forms available for use and can guide you through this process.
Don’t let the potential liability issues stop you from investing in corporate fitness programs. They can help you lower health care costs, lower rates of absenteeism, decrease employee stress levels and make employees more productive.