In 2013 one of the most comprehensive studies of workplace wellness was carried out in the United States. Entitled the Rand Report, it looked at the employee wellness programs in the US and their effectiveness in improving employees general well being. The lead author of the report, Soren Mattke concluded that employee wellness programs can help contain the current epidemic of lifestyle-related diseases as well as lower the ongoing skyrocketing healthcare costs in the US.
This conclusion is expected because we all know by now that regular exercise can lessen the risk of developing health problems in the future. As well as the Rand Report, other recent studies have shown that by sticking to an initial exercise program of at least six weeks you will reduce the risk of disease and other health problems later in later life. However, the major issue with people getting exercise lies in the place that they spend most of their day – their job.
A lot of people are spending 9 to 10 hours sitting down staring at a screen every day with little or no exercise done in the evening. High stress or job dissatisfaction can lead to poor nutrition choices and an overall lack of interest in keeping fit and healthy. This is why corporate wellness programs are so essential to help people live a healthy lifestyle and maintain good mental health.
In fact, when the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law in 2010 in the United States, it contained provisions that incentivized businesses to provide adequate corporate wellness programs for their employees. Under the act, business would use monetary incentives to motivate employees to reach the fitness goals set out for them. While there were some issues with the implementation of this, overall it is a step in the right direction for employee wellness.
Outside improving the health of the employee, there are a couple of other benefits for businesses incorporating wellness programmes. For one there is the financial aspect. In a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review, it was found that for every dollar invested in wellness companies average a return of $2.71. For another, there is an overall positive impact on morale. Physical activity can help people deal with the pressures they may face at work and improve employee health in general. This will also increase employee retention rates and help keep top talent.
As you can see, corporate wellness programmes are becoming very important to how modern workplaces function. But what does all this mean for you as a fitness entrepreneur?
Well as we discussed in our previous blog on 5 practical product and service revenue streams, corporate wellness programmes are a great way of adding an extra revenue stream to your business. As we touched upon briefly in that article, corporate wellness is an excellent source of revenue during the quieter part of the day when everyone is at work. So it makes sense to bring the gym to them!
If your fitness business is located in a small to mid-size town, you may be thinking this is more relevant to studios and gyms located in bigger towns and cities. However, an increasing number of smaller businesses are offering corporate wellness programmes. In the United States, the ACA made it mandatory for companies with 50 employees and over to provide healthcare with wellness programmes usually part of this.
So in this article, we are going to go through the steps you need to take before becoming involved with corporate wellness and then take a dive into some different corporate wellness ideas your fitness studio could implement.
What To Do First
To get your studio or gym involved there are two main things that you have to do.
Get On The Phone
You have made the decision to take part in a corporate wellness programme. The next question is: How do you do it?
Well the answer quite simple: Good old fashioned cold calling.
In the beginning, the best way is to make a page on your website describing the service you will provide for business. Then make a list of companies in the area that you think are looking for a fitness studio to become involved in their wellness initiatives. The next step is to call the HR manager of each company on the list and start selling!
However, if you are in a bigger urban area, it might worth running targeted Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns or go old school and place posters advertising your services.
Choose a Location
If you become involved with a company’s wellness program, you more than likely will be running fitness classes as part of the program(more on this later). The choice you have to make is whether you host it in your studio or in your office.
Here is the advantage and disadvantage of each:
Advantage: easy for the employees to attend, less cost to you as you don’t have to open your facility.
Disadvantage: Facilities may not be adequate for physical activity.
Advantage: Good facilities, you can control the environment.
Disadvantage: Unless you are beside the office space you may find it difficult to get people to attend.
In the next part of this article, we will go through the different corporate wellness program ideas you can possibly offer a business.
You may be thinking that you have to dive straight into running classes, but a simple service you can offer before you get into any of that is a wellness audit. A wellness audit is where you take a look at the current state of affairs of a business in terms of the health and fitness of their employees. You can then make suggestions about where things need to be improved. The results of this audit can then be used as a benchmark for developing a wellness program for the business.
When making suggestions as part of this audit identify easily improved habits and routines that can help employees reach their fitness goals. For example, suggest putting poster beside the stairs that encourage employees to hit the steps instead of riding the elevator. The poster can give information such as the distance you travel and how many calories you can burn. You can also put signs up signalling the same but for laps around the building on a lunch break.
Another area the wellness audit will cover is nutrition. Suggest healthy snack ideas and healthier menus for the canteen if there is one. Get food delivered tot Locate healthy food options in the local area and place menus and leaflets in visible areas around the office. Other suggested ideas you could implement include standing desks, Aaron Sorkin style walking meetings and smoking cessation.
Once the audit is completed, you can choose to offer one or both of the following programs.
We have spoken about workshops before as a great way to boost acquisition and retention and for introducing nutrition into your fitness business. And the reason is they are a fantastic way of introducing people to new health and fitness concepts. The reality is that a lot the people you will be in the wellness program may not be used to staying fit and healthy. Workshops are great as they are quite interactive and their specific nature allows people to grasps concepts in a short space of time very quickly.
With a workshop, you can slowly introduce nutrition and exercise concepts in a more relaxed environment. Some great ideas for a workshop include:
- A cooking class on healthy eating
- The 5 steps to laying the foundation for a productive day
- How much exercise does a healthy adult need?
- The 5 components of physical fitness
Programmes and Challenges
For most fitness studios the weight loss challenge is a standard event.
And the reason for this is that it works!
This is a fantastic way of getting the employees motivated to take part in a wellness program.
By challenging them to reach a goal they have more of reason to stick with the fitness and nutrition plan you laid out for them.
Some great ideas for programmes and challenges include
- 8 Week Physical Health Programmes
- 28 Day ChallengeCouch to 5K
- 8 Week Mindfulness Programme
- 8 Week Nutritional Health Programme
These three workplace wellness programs ideas are a great way to get employees of the business you are working with motivated to achieve their fitness goals. The benefit for you as a fitness business is that it adds another revenue stream to your fitness business and exposes you to potential members that you can sign up for longer term memberships.