Corporate fitness programs aren’t just for big companies with big budgets.
It’s no secret that as a society we’re getting fatter. This poses an expensive problem for companies who are paying for health care plans for their employees. Overweight individuals statistically cost their employers more due to more medical visits, more sick days taken and higher usage of prescription drugs when compared to average weight individuals. Creating and encouraging a culture a of wellness through a program of corporate fitness for employees just makes good fiscal sense.
Large companies often have robust health and wellness programs complete with professionally staffed fitness centers, onsite clinics and a host of other offerings that only a large budget can handle. However, small companies with small budgets can most definitely embrace and encourage wellness at the workplace as well.
Corporate fitness success stories in small companies
There are small companies right here in Silicon Valley that are taking steps to create a healthier workforce and proving that it doesn’t cost a fortune to foster a culture of wellness at the workplace. It simply takes top level support, a little creativity and some dedication to finding cost effective resources. Last year I met with one of the partners at San Jose accountancy firm Abbot Stringham Lynch (www.aslcpa.com) and was really impressed with things they’ve put in place for their employees in order to encourage healthy habits. Although they’d be considered a small company with just 55 people at the firm, they planned and built an on-site fitness center when they took over the building in which they operate. On-site showers make it convenient for employees to get cleaned up before heading back to their desks. In their on-site self service kitchen they’ve got pantries, refrigerators and freezers filled with snacks and food that can be put together to create a meal. This offers employees an easy way to grab a quick piece of fruit in the afternoon, or put together a salad for lunch. The firm had a surge in births amongst employees, so they created a “mother’s room” where female employees can take few minutes to collect breast milk for their infants. Although this may not seem to be part of a “health and wellness” plan, I’d say it goes a long way towards employee satisfaction. Happy, well cared for employees are going to be more productive employees.
Bay area mortgage lender RMR Financial (www.rmrfincancial.com) has given employees pedometers to track their steps, and they’ve purchased access to an online accountability program (www.virginhealthmiles.com) where employees can log exercise activities and get incentive rewards. Employees can also track their fitness/weight loss progress at a measurement station right in the office. We recently awarded RMR Financial with our “Healthy Business of the Month” award because they’re a small local company putting an effort into employee wellness. In order to honor and support their efforts at making employee wellness a priority, we gifted their employees with a free one-month membership to our fitness boot camps in San Jose and Los Gatos. We look at it as a win-win-win for all concerned: RMR Financial has another fitness “offering” for their employees (that cost them nothing), the employees get a great workout several times a week to help improve their fitness, and we get to help a few more of our community members get in shape by helping them lose body fat and tone their muscles!
If there’s a notion out there in SiliconValley that only the larger companies have or can afford fitness and wellness programming, these two cases studies show this isn’t true. Whether a company has a huge budget, a small budget, or even NO budget, wellness at the workplace can be fostered.
Health care costs are going to keep spiraling higher. The best cost containment method Silicon Valley Companies can employ is to help their employees move more and eat better.