We have all heard the news that healthy and fit employees are more productive, handle stress better and are more engaged. This leads to higher profitability, higher productivity, higher sales and overall, happier employees -- all great things for their companies who pay them.
Executives across companies small and large and young and old are thinking about how to craft wellness programs that will attract and retain the best talent. In fact, all of the Best Companies to Work For offer some sort of Wellness program. And as the war for talent rages on, it is the companies who authentically prioritize their employee’s wellness and work life balance who will have the advantage.
Participation is the Biggest Challenge
Wellness programs offer so much value to employees, but they suffer from a lack of participation. Even as the size and value of programs increases, it is the employees who would most benefit from a wellness program who continue to be the hardest to reach.
Many people have trouble getting started and putting in the time required to create a new, healthy habit. People need to be pushed in some way to get them going. The availability of a wellness program isn’t enough to motivate them.
On site fitness centers are of limited benefit
Many wellness programs offer an on-site fitness center or a subsidized membership to a nearby gym. Companies spend up to $200/year per employee on these benefits. Unfortunately, even people who are committed to their fitness have trouble getting to the gym, so companies shouldn’t be surprised if their employees don’t use this benefit. Here are the biggest challenges to going to the gym:
Challenge #1 Time: Finding and making the time to invest in exercise can be hard. Some find that on-site locations do not have convenient hours of operation given work schedules, and going to an external gyms require additional commute time that an employee just might not be able to spare. Not only that, gyms may not offer classes or access to equipment at times that work for employees.
Challenge #2 Equipment, classes and staff: To stick to a workout and build a habit, you need to find activities that makes you happy. Seriously; workouts shouldn’t always feel like work. If you find something you enjoy doing you’ll be far more successful at sticking to it. Plus, to stay motivated and make progress, you need to continue to challenge yourself with new things. If an on-site fitness center contains only a few pieces of equipment, you just won’t be able to do that.
Challenge #3 Gymtimidation: Too many people feel intimidated by the gym. They worry about being in an environment where people who may or may not be fitter can them judge them. A fitness center in a work setting may exacerbate these feelings. Can you imagine having an intense case of gymtimidation and then running into your VP on the treadmills or in the locker room?
People Want to Workout at Home and Whenever They Have the Time
In the Grokker 2014 Survey, the top wellness activity that people wanted to do more of in 2015 was to exercise at home. This isn’t too surprising given at home workouts remove many obstacles to exercise. The convenience and variety of at home workouts offer significant benefits to people wanting to lose weight and increase their fitness - at any level.
At home workouts allow exercise to be worked into busy schedules. On Grokker we see our members working out in the early mornings, before the kids come home from school, or even late at night. Removing the barrier of a commute to the gym eliminates a key excuse NOT to workout, increasing the likelihood that it actually happens.
There are so many ways to start and do at home workouts - from DIY to following printed workout instructions or, like on Grokker, following along to a exercise video class. Following along with an expert teacher on video brings the experience of a personal trainer into your living room complete with instructions on the movements, motivation to get through a tough set and let’s not forget, fun music.
Increase Participation in Employee Wellness Programs with At Home Fitness Options
The growth in popularity of at home workout options -- from Jane Fonda on VHS, to P90X on DVD, and now online on demand video -- underscores the consumer demand for these fitness options. It’s time that Employee Wellness programs expand beyond the on-site or subsidized fitness center to include what their employees want -- at home workout options.
Extending benefits to include more subsidized at home workout options will increase employee participation and increase the health and wellness related cost and productivity benefits from a well employee base.