Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Corporate Fitness: Welcoming Employees Back to the Fitness Center

GettyImages-1267511601As organizations are planning to reopen their offices in the weeks and months ahead, many questions are swirling around what the new office landscape will look like for both employers and employees. Some organizations are telling their employees if they can work from home full-time, they’d like for them to continue doing so permanently. Others can’t wait to return to normal office operations while also recognizing a hybrid telecommuting model will likely be the outcome.

Whatever that landscape looks like for employers upon reopening, one certainty that is clear is the need to provide flexible wellness program options to accommodate employees wherever they might be working. Last month, I shared some considerations on safety policies when reopening your fitness center. Now, check out these program and service considerations as you welcome back your employees with flexible options!

For your employees returning onsite:

  • Membership Drives & Orientations: if you froze memberships to your onsite corporate fitness center over the past year, hosting a membership drive and general orientation appointments to tour the facility, receive instruction on the different makes/models of equipment, etc., can be a great starting point to help employees take that first step in getting acclimated. If you include payroll deductions for employees to use your space, consider a discount or waiving that fee for an introductory period to encourage as many people as possible to rejoin or join for the first time.
  • Refresher Fitness Classes: you may have some employees who did not exercise as readily over the past year without access to the onsite amenities you provide. Consider offering low intensity “refresh” classes for employees who may feel like they can’t return to the more intense classes they once attended in fear of it being too difficult. For some individuals, the motto of “we are all in this together” also translates to getting back in shape together!

For your employees continuing to work remotely:

  • Provide a Virtual Wellness Platform – much like your onsite fitness center is a hub for programs and services when employees are on campus, provide a web platform your employees can access when working from home or when traveling on business for resources to stay healthy and active. Being able to access virtual fitness classes, request a health coaching appointment, or check out the upcoming healthy living lecture makes it convenient for your employees to stay plugged into your wellness offerings wherever they may be located.
  • Utilize a Virtual Meeting Service: whether you want to stream your onsite fitness classes to employees at home or provide virtual forums for your employees to meet with a health coach to discuss their lifestyle goals, utilizing platforms such as Zoom, Teams, etc., is a great means for your employees to connect face to face with your wellness staff and maintain that personal connection and support in their health journey. Check out our case study on reNew You, an engaging virtual wellness program that our members have raved about this year!

NIFS fitness management is proud to partner with organizations to help them develop a safe reopening strategy with the flexible offerings their employees need to be active. Whether you have an onsite fitness center, you are looking for a virtual wellness program model, or a hybrid of both, for your employees contact NIFS for a complimentary consultation.

Topics: corporate fitness employee wellness corporate fitness programming virtual fitness

What Corporate Fitness Members Gain from Group Fitness

GettyImages-1195045259When waking up early in the morning, it can be extremely difficult to make it through a morning workout by yourself or perhaps you may not push yourself as hard through the last round of squats as you power through alone. There is a quite a bit that can be said about exercising in a group and how it births motivation.

Group fitness classes are not a new concept, but there has been a major increase around the corporate fitness center I staff with the rising numbers of group strength training, Tabata, core, stretching and HIIT style classes. Research has shown us that the healthy actions of our peers tend to rub off on us. It has also been proven that people who are trying to lose weight tend to spend quite a bit of time with their friends who are on the same trajectory towards similar health goals. Working out tends to be more enjoyable and communal when you are a part of a pack.

Group fitness classes allow individuals to increase their commitment to a fitness routine. Working out with a group has been linked to enhanced consistency, motivation, longer duration of being able to work out, amazing conversation and feeling inspired by others. Working out with a group of peers or friends drives consistency in such a way that when there’s someone who hasn’t shown, there’s accountability and positive peer pressure to help swerve against quitting or skipping a class. One study done by the National Library of Medicine showed that 95% of individuals who started a weight-loss programs with their friends completed them vs 76% of individuals who tried to tackle the goals themselves.

Group fitness allows you the benefit and advantage of being able to diversify your workouts. There are only so many exercises that you can perform alone and sometimes you may hit a point where you are doing the same exercises, which tends to get boring. Throwing other participants into the mix with a dynamic exercise instructor allows your workouts to get creative and reduces the urge to feel lonely from working out solo all the time. Having multiple individuals to exercise with opens up the catalog to be creative when it comes to partner resisted exercises, adding in exercises that others have recently learned or trying new things together.

Last but not least, group fitness permits one to capitalize on endorphins. Group workouts brings so much more benefit to your mental health rather than trying to always tackle a workout solo. When you’re a part of a great fitness classes with a bunch of good people, this kind of community and team effort makes you feel great outside of just the temporary boost you may experience after one small workout.

Whether you are just getting started with exercising or you are looking to change things up in your fitness routine, consider group fitness classes to learn new exercises and get some extra motivation along the way!

 

Topics: group exercise corporate fitness group fitness corporate fitness programming

5 Considerations for Reopening Your Corporate Fitness Center

GettyImages-1227598210As more companies welcome their employees back to the office, they are also developing reopening strategies for their onsite fitness centers. It’s one thing to establish social distancing protocols in office spaces, breakrooms, etc., and it’s a whole other ballgame managing traffic in and out of the dynamic environments of locker rooms and fitness centers full of movement. NIFS has been helping our clients prepare their reopening plans so they can do so with confidence that this engaging space is safe for their employees. As your organization considers its reopening plans, review these considerations and align policies that best support your space and programming expectations of your members.

  • Locker Rooms: don’t just think about how many people your fitness center can accommodate with proper social distancing, also consider how many individuals your locker rooms can accommodate and if you will allow that space to be accessible. Consider the traffic flow of your locker room, the number of showers you have available, and how many people that space can safely accommodate to help you determine capacity limits.
  • Reservation Systems: if your employees are anxiously awaiting the reopening of their fitness center, consider how to best manage the traffic in your space especially during peak times of day before work, over the lunch hour, and immediately after work with a reservation system. Within that reservation system, consider how many users you can accommodate in the space (again, include those locker rooms), how long each session will last and how much time is needed to sanitize the space before the next round of users arrive. Also consider who or how you will manage this reservation system.
  • Equipment Spacing & Cleaning: consider how you might need to stagger equipment or put select pieces of out of service to allow for adequate distancing between users. In a fitness center where fans are blowing and respiration rates are high, we recommend a minimum of 10’ between equipment opposed to the standard 6’ for social distancing. In addition, consider how smaller, hard to clean pieces of equipment should be sanitized between users or taken out of circulation. Or perhaps you have a cleaning box for small equipment to be dropped like bands, foam rollers, etc., so your onsite staff can ensure they are properly cleaned before placing on the floor again. Also provide touchless sign-in methods if you track visits and provide touchless water refill stations opposed to drinking fountains.
  • Appointments & Services: consider limits on the number of participants in classes and whether you need to schedule back to back offerings on your calendar to accommodate the demand. It might not be efficient, but likely what is needed for your larger groups. Again, consider 10-12’ between your participants and even the types of formats you are offering. Avoid circuits or boot camp style classes where participants rotate stations sharing equipment. For one-on-one services such as fitness assessments or personal training, work with your onsite staff to develop the appropriate cueing to conduct their appointments while maintaining proper distancing from the member.
  • Signage & Reminders: as people settle into old workout routines and habits, it’s important that they remain diligent on the current protocols within your facility. Provide extra cleaning supplies around the fitness center with reminders to wipe down equipment before and after use, use tape or other markers to indicate participant “spots” in free weight areas and group fitness classes to ensure distancing and include signage with general reminders about your company’s COVID safety protocols.

As always, stay on top of current CDC guidelines and best practices for the operations and programming in your onsite fitness center. Need support in developing a plan for your organization? Contact NIFS for consulting services or to discuss how our qualified fitness staff are effectively managing these reopening strategies for their clients.

NIFS Consulting: Support for developing a plan!

Topics: corporate fitness corporate wellness consulting nifs consulting services corporate fitness planning

Corporate Fitness: Maintaining Connections in a Virtual World

GettyImages-1215677044 (1)While many may have feelings of uncertainty come to mind with everything we’ve endured thus far in 2020, we’ve also experienced inspiration from the dedication of our healthcare workers and educators and witnessed innovation in how many industries are adapting to remote workforces and revised service models.The corporate fitness industry included and that is why NIFS has adapted our HealthYou programming to accommodate our clients’ needs while their fitness centers remain closed and their employees are at home.  

We have long stated that it's our amazing staff that makes our business-model thrive and our hiring practices help us recruit some of the best professionals in the industry. The relationships our staff build with their members are key to our successful corporate fitness centers. One thing the current pandemic has taught us is those relationships don’t need to be nurtured within the four walls of a fitness center. As our clients’ workforces were sent home and access to typical fitness amenities became limited, our staff got to work finding opportunities to support their members’ health and wellness needs to maintain engagement.

Here are a few examples of how our staff is keeping our clients’ workforce connected to healthy lifestyle resources utilizing their customized HealthYou portals and our licensed exercise software integrated with Zoom:

  • Virtual Health Coaching: if you have tried to purchase fitness equipment in the last several months, you’ve likely experienced home-based cardio equipment on backorder, dumbbell racks empty in the stores, and the basics for building your home gym difficult to come by. Our staff have been routinely connecting with their members via phone calls and email and finding innovative ways to support their members’ evolving needs. For some, it may have been relaxation techniques while kids were home with distance learning, for others it may have been working through a new exercise program within the scope of what equipment and space a member has available at home. The gratitude and thanks our staff have heard from their members in maintaining that connection has been inspiring.

  • Group Fitness: we’ve been host morning, noon, and night virtual group fitness classes since the pandemic started and it’s amazing to hear just how much our members love to see THEIR fitness staff and still workout with them. They’ve also enjoyed getting to experience classes with other NIFS staff across the country for variety. Not only do they have live classes available but they have a video library of recorded classes at their fingertips which have 1,000’s of views.

  • Programming: let’s face it, those early weeks of the pandemic, in particular, were rough. Stress and anxiety levels were high and many fell into the groove of day-long snacking followed by evening binge-watching of our favorite shows. Wellness programming like NIFS Commit 21, Fitness Bingo, and NIFS Stress Relief Calendar has helped employees establish personal goals and self-care routines to get back on track.

  • Nutrition Services: NIFS Registered Dietitian has been hosting Healthy Lifestyle sessions on Zoom each week where everything from weight loss, to pre-and-post workout nutrition, to family meal planning, is discussed. There is also a Facebook group in which healthy recipes are shared and some great discussion continues throughout the week! As the frequency of cooking at home has increased, these nutrition resources have been a great option to break out of those menu ruts and explore new healthy choices.

We are already hearing requests and interest for our HealthYou resources to remain available to our members once fitness centers reopen. The landscape of many industries post-pandemic will likely look different and we are glad that members are inviting more options to exercise onsite when their fitness centers reopen as well as requesting the continued accessibility of virtual resources.

NIFS HealthYou programming is a great solution for organizations looking to broaden their employee wellness offerings. Whether you have an onsite fitness center or your employee-base works remotely, our amazing staff and virtual tools can connect them to the resources they need to live well. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation to explore opportunities for your employees.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT HEALTHYOU >

Topics: corporate fitness program corporate fitness employee wellness group fitness remote working virtual trainer virtual group fitness online fitness coach virtual training online fitness

Is Exercise Getting Left Behind in the Evolution of Corporate Wellness?

NIFS | Exercise ReminderThere is more and more discussion in corporate wellness today about doing wellness for (with?) employees, creating thriving workplace environments, shifting toward programmatic choices that allow for volunteerism and financial literacy, engaging employees with more purposeful work, and using job crafting to create more meaningful work.

It's an interesting time to engage in discussion about what these paradigm shifts really mean when it comes to practical, on-the-ground-application for employees. I agree with much of the dialog; I think it's past time to consider a shift and to take action on it. And yet, I'm concerned that we may be packing away some key elements for "old school" corporate wellness that should not be left out of the mix. One of those program options that is on the fringe is physical activity.

If the basis of your corporate wellness initiative is to help employees live well so that they can bring their best to work each day, then you cannot leave exercise behind. While you consider things like living wage, job crafting and other areas that impact individual well-being, you also need to keep the idea of making the healthy choice the easy choice at the top of mind. Here's how exercise maintains relevance in corporate wellness even as the concept of such offerings continue to evolve. 

The workplace is a prime place for making exercise easy

The research about the benefits of regular activity are clear. What remains elusive are effective strategies to nudge employees toward a more active lifestyle. But, that doesn't mean we should stop creating easy ways for the workers to move their bodies. Time and money (access) remain the two biggest barriers for adults when asked why they don't engage in regular exercise. Like it or not, the workplace becomes a prime location for employees to fit in some activity.  

Exercise doesn't require as much guess work as other initiatives

I know a lot of organizations have taken on wearables as the hallmark of their wellness program's physical activity component. It may be tempting to go that route - it seems relatively easy, and if the cost to implementation isn't a barrier for the organization, you can simply give everyone a Fitbit and get on with it. There are however, many reasons to exercise caution with the use of wearables in your wellness program, not the least of which is privacy.

[Read more: Why Wearable Fitness Trackers Aren't Your Wellness Program]

Outside of the wearable marketplace, there a host of ways you can make physical activity an easy choice in your work environments. We're partial to a corporate fitness center, but that's not the right fit in every business. While you need variety, you don't have to spend a ton of money to execute this well. Group fitness classes can be run with modest cost (or no cost - employees can fund this if you simply make the opportunity available). Painting out safe walking zones in your parking lot, providing resources for stretch breaks, and offering solid education on opportunities for exercise in the community are examples of low-cost initiatives that can easily be developed.  

Leading the way is required

Sometimes, the best way to communicate that movement is important for your workforce has less to do with programmatic offerings, but instead is focused on shifting your culture so that walking breaks are repeatedly encouraged and modeled.

[Read more: 5 Tips To Help Your Employees Move More]

Leaders in the organization have to adopt a mindset where taking a break for physical activity during the day is not just accepted, it's encouraged. One of the best ways to do that is by modeling (yes, that means you need to take your own breaks!). You also have to be mindful of workplace policies (clock in/out policies, productivity quotas, etc.) that may send a different message than the supportive communications you've issued. If words and actions don't match up, employees aren't likely to adopt new practices. 

At the end of the day, you can't really legislate that employees exercise. The motivation to move has to be an inner drive in order for it to be a sustained choice. But, you can make it easier for your workforce to have access to physical activity by creating both spaces and support for regular exercise. 

Tips for adding exercise

Topics: exercise at work corporate fitness corporate wellness success corporate wellness programs corporate fitness programming wellness programming

When It's Time to Expect More from Your Corporate Fitness Program

GettyImages-873616226 (1).jpgCorporate fitness centers are pretty low on the totem pole for most organizations. And that's how they end up just "existing" with the rest of the benefit items; they're on the list of nice things to have, but there's nothing about the corporate fitness program itself that tells leadership it's really thriving or performing well for the employees. If that resonates with you and what you're seeing in your worksite fitness program, it might be time to change things up.

Here are three signs that indicate it's time to take a fresh look at what's possible in your corporate fitness program.


#1: If You Haven't Seen Your Fitness Center Staff Out and About...

...its time to check in on how the staff are serving all of the employees (not just the corporate fitness center members). While it's likely that your fitness center staff are well degreed and credentialed for exercise, they also probably have some skills for promoting other areas of health. If they're not leaving the fitness center to provide additional worksite wellness programming, it's possible they were told that their domain is the fitness center and they should not be doing other health-related programming in the building. That's an easy one to correct; have the conversation with them and see what they can start offering across your campus to support employee health.

One of the beyond-the-fitness-center initiatives our staff members provide allows the employees to put up a signal at their desks that they'd like a quick consultation with the fitness staff. In one case, it was fun stress balls that were the signal; in another case, it was little green army men. Employees picked them up at a promotional table along with a flyer describing the at-your-desk exercise service. Then at designated times, NIFS staff walked the work areas looking for employees who had left out their signals. They provided brief consultations and exercise/stretch recommendations for employees at their desks, and they dropped off a membership application for the fitness center. In just one offering of this program, our staff interacted with an average of 40 new employees each week and picked up 15 new fitness center members directly from their consultation conversations with employees at their desks.

#2: If You're Not Getting Monthly Updates on How the Fitness Center and Related Programs Are Performing...

...it's time to at least ask for the data to see what the fitness management provider can produce. If the vendor isn't in the practice of tracking at least monthly visit and participation data, you may want to rethink the partnership because it will be a steep hurdle to get them thinking about data collection if that isn't already part of their business model. In truth, you should be able to count on at least two types of data from your corporate fitness center:

  • Monthly fitness center numbers: Total visits, unique users, frequent users (we track 5 or more and 8 or more visits per month), along with appointment volume and group fitness participation.
  • Program outcome data: Executive summary–style reporting that shows key outcomes from the initiative along with a program overview and plans for improvement in the next offering.

#3: If No One Has Really Raved in a While About the Staff or the Fitness Center Programs...

...it might be a good time to confirm how strong of a relationship the staff members have with your employees. We believe the foundation of our successful corporate fitness center partnerships is relationships. While it can take a while to build strong connections, once established, you should expect to hear periodically from your employees about how the fitness center staff are doing great work, helping to motivate them to do more than they would on their own, etc. If you're not getting those kinds of comments, your corporate fitness program might be in a rut and it's time to breathe some new life into what's possible for your employees' health through an exercise program.

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Ready to dig a little deeper into what's possible for your corporate fitness center?  You're in luck - we have a whole guide on the topic designed to walk you through three key opportunities to build a more successful program.

Get Our Guide to Successful Fitness Programs

Topics: employee health corporate fitness data staffing worksite fitness

Short Group Fitness Breaks Overcome Commitment Issues

ThinkstockPhotos-119386421.jpgWe’re onto something in corporate fitness, and guess what? It involves no commitment. I know what you’re thinking; it goes against everything we’ve always said. You have to commit to a workout plan, commit to changing one thing at a time, commit to your goals, commit to this, and commit to that. No wonder we’re all scared of the “C word”!

Not only do we commit to our health journey every day and do our best, but we also have many other obligations: work schedules, family events, volunteer activities, and more. It’s a heavy load, and many feel lost without their handy planner, online calendar, phone, or other gadget to keep it all together.

We’re a society that loves to feel busy, and some even feel more empowered by the more they do. Newsflash: it’s exhausting! Add one more thing to that calendar and some feel like an overinflated balloon. We get it, or at least we’re starting to get it. How can we continue to help our clients on their health journey without breathing that one last breath of air into their already full balloon? For starters, we don’t want your commitment.

Healthy Habits Should Come Naturally

Now don’t get me wrong, committing to a healthy lifestyle is important and should never fall to the bottom of the list. However, it’s also not something you need to add to your calendar. It’s continuous and ever-evolving; so whether it’s a walk, a salad or smoothie, a few moments to breathe, refilling your water bottle, or getting enough rest, many of these things come automatically. There’s no scheduling these, and there’s no plugging them into a calendar. These are signs of a well-rounded health passage, and reassurance that it’s become somewhat instinctual to take care of your mind and body.

If you feel this way, good for you; it’s an excellent start! But what if you’re not in this boat? What if you do need these reminders? It’s just one more thing to commit to and add to the long list of things “to do.” You’re not alone. Many feel this way, and we’ve found something that alleviates the problem. Are you excited? Me too, so let’s get down to the good stuff.

Join the Impromptu Fitness Fun

Our staff are starting to do impromptu stretch breaks, brief meditation introductions, and mild exercise instruction with no obligation. That’s right, no signing up ahead of time, no paying, no email confirmation required, no Outlook invite—none of that. We’re asking you just to show up if time allows.

When, you ask, do these activities occur? The answer is “I don’t know,” and neither does our staff in many cases. They may have an hour on a Tuesday at 2pm or a Thursday at 10am. We’re looking for any free time possible, just as you are. All we’re doing is sending out and a spur-of-the-moment email to members and associates about the quick activity, and they are actually showing up! In decent numbers, too—usually more than our group exercise class participation.

Why? Well, this is my theory. First of all, we aren’t asking for a commitment. Second, I think people enjoy the element of surprise. Imagine you’re plugging away at work thinking about your schedule, upcoming calls, what’s for dinner, when do I need to pick up the kids, and suddenly you get an email that says, “Join us in an hour for a stretch break in the quad.” Your calendar looks clear, it’s only for a short amount of time, and I don’t have to change clothes, so yes I think I’ll go! Miraculously we’re opening the door to two things that most people enjoy: no commitment and a nice surprise. It seems to be well received, and anything well received is worth pursuing. As long as there is no commitment, of course. 

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Want to find out more about how to make group fitness work for your employees?

Download Now: 3 Keys to adding Group Fitness at Work

Topics: corporate fitness NIFS healthy habits group fitness commitment

Corporate Fitness: Why Do Your Feet Go Numb During Workouts

 

ThinkstockPhotos-484968472.jpgRegardless of whether you're new to exercise or you've been sweating it out for years, there's a good chance you've experienced the sensation of one or both of your feet going numb during a workout. For me, it's most likely to happen when I'm on an elliptical machine in the fitness center, but it's happened when I was out on a run, too. And "Why do your feet go numb during workouts?" is certainly one of the more commonly asked questions posed by our corporate fitness members. This phenomenon is common (and annoying), but it's probably not a life-threatening medical condition. There are a few things you can try to get the sensation to go away for good.

Check your routine. If you find that you frequently experience numbness during a specific activity, try changing up your routine. Maybe that particular piece of equipment or class just isn't the right fit for your body. Who knows, it might be that you just need a break, and taking a little time off can allow you to come back refreshed and ready for a new start.

FREE DOWNLOAD: 7 Ways to Add Exercise to the Workplace >

Check your laces. You may find that a simple adjustment in how tightly you lace your shoes can help. Resist the urge to snug-up the laces for a tight fit, and instead give your foot a little breathing room. Feet sometimes swell during exercise, and if you lace up tightly before you start sweating, you don't leave much room for your foot to spread.

Check your shoes. Consider the width (brand) of your shoe. A medium-width shoe is not the same across brands, and the same make/model of shoe has a different width for men and women. Men's shoes tend to have a wider toe box than women's shoes. So ladies, if you don't need a wide width, but your women's joggers aren't cutting it, try the men's version of the same shoe for a more comfortable fit. If you haven't been professionally fitted for shoes, it may be worth that investment.

[Related Content: How to find the right shoe]

Check your placement. On an elliptical or a bike, where the tendency is to keep your feet in the same position throughout the workout, think about making slight movements throughout the ride/roll. Subtly shifting how you place pressure on your feet over the span of a 20–40-minute session can help minimize numbness in the feet.

Check your symptoms. If you can use one of the recommendations above and the numbness goes away, no worries. If you find, however, that the numbness persists through your day, always occurs in the same place on your foot, or is so severe that you have to discontinue your workouts, it may be time to see your doctor. You may be dealing with a pinched-nerve injury that will need more than the suggestions above to remedy.

 

Topics: corporate fitness shoes Fitness Center injury workouts numbness

Three Tips for Improving Your Corporate Fitness Program

ThinkstockPhotos-186871442.jpgCorporate fitness programs in businesses all across the country have been doing pretty much the same thing, quite possibly for decades. The programs look very different, one from the next, but the basic premise is the same.

  • Employer: "We want you to be healthy. Here's [insert your corporate fitness answer here: a gym membership, group fitness classes, walking paths, an onsite corporate fitness center, etc.] for you to use. Go be active (when you're not working).
  • Employee: "I'd love to start exercising, but I don't know what's safest and most effective for me. Plus, I don't have much time, and clearly, I have work quotas to meet. It's great that the company offers these healthy options, but it doesn't seem like the right fit for me."

Read Now: Why Corporate Fitness Needs to Evolve

There's a real risk in corporate fitness that we only ever reach the folks who would be active regardless of whether there was a corporate fitness program. So the challenge for businesses becomes how to reach employees who are interested in exercising but who don't know where to begin. Get your organization started in the right direction with these three tips for improving your corporate fitness program.

Tip 1: Get the staffing right.

Finding the right staff to support your corporate fitness offerings is crucial to the success of the program. As an organization that provides this very service to businesses all over the country, we’ve written extensively on the topic. It’s no surprise that we think outsourcing your fitness staff is a great choice. However, if your fitness center staffing style is more of a DIY approach, definitely consider the tips in this blog, 3 Tips for Hiring an Active Aging or Corporate Fitness Professional.

Tip 2: Offer the right services.

There are core services that should be in place for a corporate fitness program to be successful:

  • Individual education through exercise prescriptions and fitness assessment and testing is essential. Both of these services, which can easily be provided by your qualified staff, provide a fantastic foundation to the employees who are fence-sitters about exercise—you know, the employees who want to try moving more but who aren't sure how to get started safely. Those are the very same employees you're trying to draw into the program; addressing their concerns and questions with tailored services is a great way to show them that the door to starting an exercise program at work is wide open.

Alternative to Personal Training -- Read More!

  • Incentive programs can help keep the fitness program interesting and are a fantastic way to help employees reach for better health beyond physical fitness. We've written about several of our successful incentives programs; click any of the titles below to find out more.

Employee Wellness Programming Beyond the Corporate Fitness Center

Making Fitness Fun in Corporate Wellness

Increasing Participation with SKELETONE

A Simple Way to Boost Participation in Your Corporate Fitness Center

How a Simple Squat Challenge Improved Corporate Fitness Metrics

Tip 3: Ask the right questions.

Anecdotal feedback and thank-you emails provide periodic indications of whether your fitness staff is on the right track with employees. But there's nothing like concrete bulk survey feedback to help steer a program in the right direction. Sure, there are problems with surveys, but in our decades of experience with managing corporate fitness centers, we increasingly find surveys to be a very helpful tool for setting our management strategy for each client. Here's how we use them:

  • We use them for specific programs to determine whether we're achieving goals with those programs. For more on our evaluation methods, check out this blog: 4 Keys to Getting Wellness Program Data You Can Actually Use.
  • From a program satisfaction standpoint, we've found surveys to be quite helpful as well. While the anonymity of them can sometimes leave our staff open to very negative feedback, the vast majority of responses are constructive and quite helpful for us in determining what our next year of program and service spotlights should be.

Want to learn more about how to make effective use of surveys to improve your corporate fitness program? Download our whitepaper.

Implement surveys to initiate change

Topics: corporate wellness corporate fitness participation data fitness assessment staffing incentives exercise prescriptions CORP Programs and Services surveys feedback

Avoid an Empty Corporate Fitness Center with These Ideas

B130001.jpgThere are a variety of reasons for you, as a business owner, to set up a corporate fitness center for your employees; employee recruitment and retention are certainly among them. Increasingly, access to some form of exercise at work is becoming an expectation. It’s also not unreasonable to build a corporate fitness center because you actually expect it will help your employees be more active, which can lead to a variety of individual health benefits and possibly some productivity and loyalty benefits for the business.

But establishing a corporate fitness center for your employees is not an “if you build it, they will come” phenomenon. After all, only about 15–17% of the U.S. population owns a gym membership. If you want your employees to have opportunities to exercise, dedicating some space on campus for exercise is a good first step, but it’s not the end of the story. Following is a checklist of steps you need to carefully consider to avoid an empty corporate fitness center and ensure your fitness center is set up for success, both for your business and for your employees.

Do you have the right collection of equipment and amenities in your fitness center?

I've seen corporate fitness centers that run the gamut from fairly bare-bones to spaces that would rival high-end clubs. Fancy matters much less than function. If you don't intend to provide expert staff in the space, you need to have equipment that your employees can use without instruction. Some of the newer functional training equipment isn't all that intuitive; be careful what you buy or only the most sophisticated exerciser will be able to put your equipment to effective use.

If you want to offer group fitness classes in your space, you'll need to have enough room to host the classes; consider 40–60SF per participant (don't forget to count the instructor!). Also keep in mind that your classes will increase volume in the fitness center and you'll want your locker room spaces to accommodate those peak-use times fairly well. With 28 years in the business, I can assure you that employees will stop coming if the locker room situation involves fighting for space.

Do you have the right leadership for the corporate fitness space/programs?

The single best way to maximize employee use of your corporate fitness center is to provide staff who manage the environment. Yes, there is a cost for that, but before you assume you don't want to pay it, consider the ramifications because here's how it plays out. Without staff to support and educate employees, the same 10% of your employees who exercise now are the ones who will use your fitness center. And the employees you're really trying to serve won't try something new in your corporate fitness space because they aren't sure what steps to take.

So committing to the fitness center space but not the fitness center staffing is building a gym for the employees who are exercising anyway. That's a pretty substantial investment for the employees who don't really stand to benefit from it.

Finding the right corporate fitness management partner doesn't have to be hard, and before you assume hiring out for that role is a horrible idea, check out this blog that addresses common misconceptions on outsourcing corporate fitness management. If you're still convinced your business is better off managing your fitness program in house, here are some suggestions for hiring your own corporate fitness manager.

Do you have a healthy culture that supports employees choosing to exercise during their time at work?

Employees spend more time commuting to and from work and actually at work than they spend anyplace else. Inviting them to exercise while they're already at the office may be our best hope for helping adults move more. But if taking a full 60-minute lunch break to work out is frowned upon by management, your corporate fitness center will stay mostly empty. If employees don't see their leadership making healthy choices a priority, your fitness center will remain a ghost town. It's not enough to have "break-time" policies written into your handbook. You have to lead by example and you have to make it okay for your management team to engage in the behaviors you want to see.

 Webinar Series: The Guide to Successful Corporate Fitness Centers

Topics: corporate fitness corporate fitness managment health culture nifs fitness center management equipment staffing corporate fitness center