If You Build It, Will They Come? Receiving a Return on an Onsite Fitness Facility

According to the CDC approximately 75% of employer health care costs are due to the lifestyle choices of the employee. Employee wellness programs can provide workers with the information and incentive to make lifestyle choices that directly impact their health. Physical fitness is a key component in those choices.

Corporate fitness centers can provide health benefits for your employees. In last week’s blog you read about the planning and investment needed to build an onsite fitness facility. After this significant investment, how do you go about calculating your return? Substantial money and time goes into the planning and execution of such a facility and that effort will go to nothing if machines are unused.

How to Make your Gym a Success:

  • Cultivate an employee culture of wellness. This comes from the top down. Company leaders can lead by example by taking care of themselves and modeling a good work/life balance. They need to respect their employees’ work/life balance as well.

  • Employees need to be aware not only of the gym, but the other wellness programs available. Does your wellness program offer voluntary health screenings? If you have a vending machine or cafeteria, be sure to provide healthy, nutritious choices.

  • You may want to consider a nominal fee for gym usage so employees have a “buy-in”. Incentivize attendance at the gym by offering a refund of those fees with consistent attendance.

  • Now that you have the gym, how do you get your employees to use it and use it consistently? Friendly contests between departments can tap into people’s competitive nature and add to a feeling of office camaraderie. You may decide to reward people’s consistent attendance with an extra vacation day.

Show me the Money - Financial ROI:

  • Various studies show that every dollar invested in wellness programs can save between $3-6 in health care cost savings for a company. Lack of exercise is linked to obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic health conditions. Consistent physical activity can prevent or delay the onset of some of these diseases and in some cases reverse them.

  • A healthier workforce shows financial results in reduced sick leave, disability, and workers’ compensation.

  • An onsite gym can be a better investment than subsidizing employees purchasing offsite health club memberships. A study by the University of California shows that most people don’t develop the habit of exercise just because they’ve purchased a membership. Removing a barrier to exercise by making it convenient encourages employee use and they may be more likely to make exercise a part of their day.

The Intangibles - VOI (Value on Investment)

  • According to the American Psychology Association, exercise helps promote better mental well-being, helps people better deal with stress, and improves cognitive function. These lead to not only a healthy workplace but a positive work place culture.

  • When people are engaged in healthy activities and environments their productivity increases.

  • You are creating an engaged workforce. There is a sense of community, pride, and trust that can develop. This engagement can lead to higher retention rates.

If you are considering an overall wellness program which includes an onsite fitness facility, both employer and employee benefit. Employees can live a healthier lifestyle and employers have an engaged, healthy workforce. If you’re looking for more information on where to start, contact us here at De Novo.

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