Corporate fitness is a method for increasing employee productivity and saving money for companies in many different ways. Ideally, any company would want its employees to be happy and healthy. This leads to a series of positive outcomes for the company as a whole. Keep reading for some examples of effective corporate fitness and wellness programs, why they were implemented, and how to effectively implement them into your business.
If you are a fitness business, then you will learn about how to find the right company for you that needs a wellness program. Corporate wellness programs can be a very mutually beneficial business endeavor for both ends. Not only is it good for business, but as a fitness professional, you will have the opportunity to help dozens, if not hundreds of more people, become healthier and happier.
Typically, large companies with over 50 employees implement corporate fitness programs. However, there are companies of all sizes that most likely could benefit from a fitness/wellness program. Fitness and wellness are not exactly synonymous, but they do target the same issues that employees experience in the workplace. Fitness and wellness just might imply different approaches to targeting these issues.
History of Corporate Fitness Programs
Believe it or not, the importance of corporate fitness is not a recent revelation. The earliest known corporate fitness program began in 1879 when Pullman Company created a whole athletic association. Granted, Pullman literally created a community around its company stocked with housing for its employees, schools, and shopping centers. Almost designed like our modern-day military bases without the security aspect.
In the late 1800s, National Cash Register actually implemented a requirement for employees to take exercise breaks twice daily. This company built a whole recreation complex spanning over 325 acres.
Fitness and wellness programs started ramping up after World War II. Big names like Xerox, Texas Instruments, and Johnson & Johnson started innovating the post-war fitness and wellness focus. Thereafter the implementation of Employee Assistance Programs in the 1950s sparked the recognition and understood the need for employee benefits. It wasn’t until the 1970s that companies began to recognize the responsibility to provide healthcare for their employees.
What are the issues that corporate fitness targets?
Think about the typical day in the office. If you are reading this at the end of the workday, then I apologize for taking you back into the work headspace. But wait. That’s a problem. A typical day at work should not be that distressing to think about. Those stressors are what corporate fitness and wellness programs target.
Health and risk assessment is the largest factor in these programs. Companies rely on their employees’ accountability and presence at work. Employees with health issues can cost companies an impactful amount of money. Sick days and bringing sickness into the workplace can be prevented through these types of programs.
Companies even employ anti-smoking campaigns to increase employee health and absenteeism. The less time you spend taking smoke breaks, the more time you actually spend working. The longer you’re alive and healthy, the longer you are an asset to a company. Now, that may sound a little skeevy, but if your company is willing to support you in your health and fitness, that is hard to argue with.
Companies should address stress management strategies for their employees and maybe reevaluate the system that is stressing their employees. Stress is a huge factor in health as your mental state reflects directly in your physical state.
Nutrition and weight are also important factors that companies address in corporate fitness programs. Weight and diet have a huge effect on the development of serious health conditions. Health conditions cause employees to be absent from work and also not be as productive in the workplace. For example, if you feel sluggish or physically distressed at work, you are less likely to perform as well.
Another reason aside from productivity is employees as a liability in the workplace. The more fit and overall healthier employees are, the less likely they are to have a serious accident in the workplace.
What companies have done corporate fitness well?
Thousands of companies small, medium, and large have implemented effective corporate fitness and wellness programs. Let’s go over five examples of effective corporate fitness and wellness programs.
Johnson & Johnson
The company that set the modern-day standard for corporate wellness programs was Johnson & Johnson’s Live For Life program. Implemented in 1978, it pumped out some notable statistics for the effects of fitness and wellness programs. The goal of this program was to provide the resources that their employees would need to improve and maintain their well-being. These resources focused on smoking cessation, nutritional advising, exercise, stress management, and weight control. Johnson & Johnson actually saw an 18% decrease in absenteeism after implementing the campaign. 50% of its employees actually participated.
Another large company that has focused on corporate wellness is Google, of course. With its silly approaches to in-office exercise like multi-level slides, scooters, ping-pong tables, and standing desks Google employees work in a pretty fun atmosphere, to begin with. However, they have on-site gyms and fitness classes. Google even encourages its employees to teach fitness classes for their peers. On the less active end, they have arcades, “nap pods,” and free books for employees. It’s quite a holistic approach to fitness and wellness. However, Google is a multi-billion dollar company and these awesome things are not so reasonable for smaller companies. They do provide a good example of thinking outside of the box for how to implement health-conscious company functions.
This large chain of hospitals in the Houston metroplex has a notable program involving FitBits. They provided over 11,000 Fitbits to their employees to track their steps. Counting steps allowed them to have competitions with each other by hospital, by departments, by gender, and much more! Competition is the most exciting way for companies to use corporate fitness programs because competition generates engagement.
Employees of Houston Methodist also had access to biometrics scanning so they can stay in touch with their progress. This also helps them better set their fitness goals to complete!
This company falls on the smaller end of the spectrum compared to Google or Johnson & Johnson. Their approach to workplace fitness was to give each of their employees a pedometer. The employees needed to walk 10,000 steps a day every day for 3 months to receive an extra 24 PTO hours. For employees who met this challenge, the company also donated to a charity of the employee’s choice in their name. This means that the employee could also write this off of their taxes!
Therefore, this program cost Excelas a manageable amount of money and encouraged its employees to stay physically active for three months!
This company has an award-winning corporate fitness program. Their point system lets their employees track their healthy lunches, workouts, meditations, and more. Employees trade in their points for prizes of all different types.
This company even established an on-site fitness center with fitness classes, yoga classes, and meditation classes. Employees’ participation in the fitness center and these classes earn them points as well. Even a yearly physical will earn them points!
How to become the corporate fitness solution
As the individual, trainers verge into the corporate fitness world by simply being able to network and create detailed programs. Lots of money is ready for earning by becoming a corporate fitness trainer. You can find companies in need of a solution by being very active on LinkedIn. This will help you get in touch with businesses and even advertise your solution to their needs.
You need to be well versed in what the company is all about before you pitch to them. Therefore, LinkedIn is a good place to start learning about the companies you would like to pitch to. Be persistent, but professional, with your follow-ups if you don’t hear back immediately. I recommend a maximum of three follow-ups over the course of two weeks. Sometimes emails bury easily for busy business people, so it is important to make sure they even saw your pitch.
Whole companies also exist for providing corporate wellness solutions. Find companies that interest you and get in contact with them for starting a career there! You will be better off if you have fitness and wellness certifications before applying. Good luck!
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