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The rise of corporate fitness

On average, people in the USA work 1,757 hours a year, around 37.5 hours a week. Plus, due to Covid-19, it’s believed that 70% of people work remotely at least once a week; some are even  more. 

Looking at the large amount of hours and time spent at home, many people are opting to live more comfortable and sedentary lifestyles behind their desks.

While working hard and earning can seem tempting for your employees, it can also create a disturbance to their physical, mental, and social wellbeing. If their work-life balance is not aligned, it can cause a lot of negative impacts on your business. 

To avoid this, you should consider (if you haven’t already) adding corporate fitness into your company. Moreover, if you’re in the fitness industry already, you should think about exploring this avenue and partnering with corporate businesses. 

Harvard Business School recently published a report that said how US companies are saving $3.27 for every one dollar spent on a corporate wellness program. That’s the money-saving aspect of it. On the performance side, another recent report showed a noticeable increase in employee productivity and stress reduction in several companies when fitness and wellness programs were introduced.

In this article, we will look at what corporate fitness is, corporate fitness before and after Covid-19, and the overall benefits of corporate fitness.

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What is corporate fitness?

Corporate fitness is basically the encouragement of physical activity in the form of a gym, exercise classes, or other activities provided for free or at a discount from a large company. 

Most of the time, corporate fitness initiatives are introduced to keep employees healthy, boost morale and help companies prosper in the long run. Corporate fitness is not a new concept; it’s been around since 1979, with the first recognized program run by the pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson.

Over the next number of years, medium to large size corporations began to implement similar types of fitness and wellness programs. They designed these programs to:

  • teach and raise awareness regarding health and fitness
  • provide services such as on-site medical assistance 
  • change the working environment to suit a healthier lifestyle

The most recent major health legislation in the US, The Affordable Care Act, had provisions in it to incentivize businesses to provide corporate wellness programs to their employees. Under the act, companies would use incentive programs to motivate employees to reach the fitness goals set out for them.

Today tech giants like Google, Apple, and Linkedin emphasize wellness. Walk inside one of their many offices around the world, and you will find wellness services available for the employees. For employees who want to reach their fitness goals, some on-site personal trainers and instructors run group fitness classes.

Corporate fitness before Covid-19

Before Covid-19 hit, many organizations would implement their own health and wellness programs for their employees. Some companies would have onsite fitness facilities like a gym and fitness center. Similarly, there might be office fitness challenges or campaigns to encourage a more active lifestyle in the workplace. Alongside this, they may have had deals with certain gyms or community centers to encourage people to work for them.

Corporate fitness after Covid-19

No doubt the Covid-19 pandemic has transformed the lives of many and industries too. Regardless of the sector, many corporate giants give their employees fully remote or hybrid options with more choosing to work from home.

In addition to the comfortable option of ditching the work commute, many employers choose to offer work from home options as there is evidence that employee productivity can increase by 30-40% than those working from the office. 

Due to the more appealing option of working from home and the social distancing and hygiene concerns resulting from the pandemic, fewer people want to use external services like the gym and opt for digital. Virtual workouts have become so popular that the virtual fitness industry is forecasted to reach $59,231 million by 2027.

To support this statistic, many fitness companies are offering their services for corporates online. 

Some examples are:

  • TRX has created a virtual employee wellbeing program for staff of corporate companies to use from home. They also provide corporates with reports of engagement of the employees working from home. 
  • Virtual fitness solutions is a company that offers online employee group fitness classes, personal training, health challenges, support program, and monthly company reports.
  •  SGfitfam provides a virtual platform for employees to undergo online fitness classes, nutrition workshops, live workouts, and more. 

In addition to the examples above, many fitness owners are streamlining their services, offering additional support such as counseling, nutrition, health, and wellness rolled into one platform. This is mainly to help employees optimize their physical, mental, and social wellbeing. 

Employer benefits of corporate fitness 

If you’re an employer and haven’t included corporate fitness programs in your company, you should definitely consider it. There’s a range of benefits to do this, which are:

Reduces health risks

In January 2018, around 4.2 million workers missed work due to an illness, injury, or medical appointment. Large scale illness outbreaks in your company can be detrimental to your productivity levels and your profit margins. 

Similarly, if your employees are ill, you don’t know how long they could be off sick for, and it could have a long term impact, which could take you a while to bounce back from. 

By having a corporate wellness program, employees are more likely to engage in healthy behaviors such as changing diet and activity, allowing them to be in better physical and mental shape for work. Therefore whether working from home or not, employees are less likely to be absent and more likely to be present. Allowing you as a company to have reduced healthcare costs. 

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Increased morale 

As a business owner, you want your employees to feel like they matter and they’re not just another number. If you offer a corporate package included in their contract, it’s more than likely they will think you have their best interests at heart. 

In addition to this, if you provide challenges or fitness services where your employees get to work out together, they will have a greater sense of camaraderie. This is because many employees will become well acquainted with each other when working out together. Plus, more people are likely to open up outside of the workplace, allowing coworkers to become more appreciative. 

Therefore when back in the workplace, there’s more support and a greater sense of teamwork, which can help propel your productivity, goals, and targets. It can also help shine a positive light on your workplace, making you look like a good employer to work for in the community.

Lower costs 

Healthier employees can reduce the number of premiums charged by your insurance. Exercise, nutrition, and wellness can help your employees control chronic diseases like diabetes, asthma, COPD, and more which are expensive to treat. The University of Michigan also suggests that employers save $1100-$1200 per annum if employees are fit and their cholesterol is managed. 

Reduces stress

Unfortunately, stress is often an unavoidable aspect of daily life, including the workplace. It’s also unhealthy for employees and employers too. As a result, it can contribute to poor workplace productivity, health, and unwarranted sick days. Corporate fitness like mediation and exercise can reduce stress by increasing their level of endorphins and feeling happier in and out of the workplace. 

How to offer corporate fitness

By 2028, the corporate wellness market is estimated to be worth $93.4 billion, it’s predicted to be a very lucrative market. As a fitness entrepreneur, if you haven’t already, this is one of the major reasons you should delve into the corporate sector. If you’re unsure on how-to, here are some ideas:

1. Create a software/platform

If you own a gym, you should seriously consider offering your services online. Not only will it help you prepare for the next pandemic or crisis, but it will also allow people to access your services from anywhere, making it appealing for remote workers. 

Plus, having a specific software will allow corporations to log as a company or their employees from their home or even in the workspace. Moreover, if you have apps that provide fitness workouts, tracking, and progress reports, it will allow employees to keep in shape, allowing them to stay motivated in and out of the workplace. 

In addition to this, software or a virtual platform can also help employers monitor and track their employee’s well being. Similarly, as software is subscription-based it is often more affordable and reasonable per person than a monthly or annual gym membership.

2. Offer fitness challenges

It’s believed that 45% of Americans go on a FAD diet every year to achieve weight loss. Fad diets have become popular within office culture, and a lot of people tend to opt for them as opposed to doing physical exercise. 

One way to encourage sustainable weight loss is by creating fitness plans and challenges for companies. You could even go further and make employees compete against one another, getting into shape quicker. Creating fun challenges will help them stick to their wellness and fitness regime a bit easier. Some examples of challenges you can include are:

  • 28 day shred program
  • 8 week nutrition and fitness programs
  • Mental health and mindfulness program

You might want to introduce wearable digital devices in line with your services to allow employees to witness their results alongside your services. 

3. Workshops

Wellness isn’t just about being in peak physical shape; you need to think about mental and social well-being. You could organize events or webinars which include some of the best wellness professionals in the community to give advice on health management. 

Some of these could include nutritionists, smoking cessation advisors, stress management, weight control, and exercise. Doing this could provide quick education for employers to provide to their employees, allowing them to develop more motivation to get fit and explore your other services. 

4. Gym memberships

If you’re a gym owner, you could offer special membership rates for corporate companies. In addition to this, you could make your gym more appealing by providing customizable fitness sessions and meal plans tailored to employees. 

5. Personalize your service

If you already offer corporate services, you could go even further and personalize them even more. For example, you could send a monthly newsletter to a companies employees educating them about healthy habits and approaching fitness with confidence. 

Moreover, you might want to inform teams about the latest trends in health and fitness. If you do this well, you could get more positive reviews, customer referrals, and more corporate clients. 

How to find corporate fitness clients?

If you’re a fitness owner and want to gain more corporate clients, there’s a range of ways to do it. One of the main ways to do it is by networking, and an effective way to do this is through digital platforms like LinkedIn. 

If you’re active on LinkedIn, it will help you locate companies that require corporate fitness. Once you find such companies, you can create solutions that appeal to their needs.

You must know all about the company before you pitch them to help give you an idea about your services. Moreover, you should not give up, you must be consistent as many people forget about messages and emails due to the busy lifestyles they lead. 

In summary

Overall, corporate fitness can have a life changing impact on employee health by increasing their morale, reducing stress levels, and more. Similarly, as a fitness owner, you can gain more clients and profit more in the long run. 

Before COVID-19 corporate fitness used to be mainly physical services such as gym memberships, group exercise classes and incentive programs; however, nowadays, it’s virtual. This means as a fitness owner; you should make the online shift to lure more companies to use your service. 

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