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February 16, 2009

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Paul Hebert

Great post. I wonder how many companies realize the waste associated with their corporate plans for health club membership?

Another way to maybe both encourage attendance - and cut costs - put a set amount of dollars on a debit/gift card for a specific gym equal to the suggested number of times a person should go to the gym - and any amount left at the end of the month expires. Then provide updates to the card holder showing their number of visits and amount of money left. This should encourage participation. Once the employee gets past a certain point in their fitness regime - typically a month or two - when they show they are attending at the point where it makes financial sense, they can be moved to an annual membership.

The money that expires each month could be used as you suggested - for further incentives and wellness activities - or dropped to the bottom line for reduction in overall health care spending.

I'm sure some mathematician could come up with a model based on probabilities that would show the business case for this.

Tanya

Paul:

Great idea! I believe the better you can measure the better the results. My one rebuttal would be: just because someone visits the gym DOES NOT mean they are getting the right kind of exercise or information. Many trainers who give nutritional advice, for example, are peddling quackery - unnecessary supplements, or, diet plans that are too restrictive to be sustained (i.e. that involve shaving off 500 - nearly a third to a quarter) of someone's daily caloric intake.

Even if someone visits the gym and manages to avoid the shiesty products, how do we know that each visit isn't just to hit the tanning booth or lounge in the sauna? I know people who use their gym membership solely for those purposes.

Still I like your idea :)

Allison

Perhaps a more cost effective and efficient solution to the gym dilemma might be in offering the reimbursement incentive! have the employee pay for their own membership and if they keep the membership for more than three consecutive months give them an amount equal to 50% or cap it at a dollar amount. This way the owness is on the member/employee to pay out of pocket first and what's the point of doing that if you're not going to use it- a 50% reimbursement is hardly worth the effort to be dishonest about frequency and usage- but if one does really use the membership it's a terrific incentive and a nice intrinsict reward from the employer. Additionally, I think it will be a whole lot cheaper than 1) building a fitness center on site hoping everyone will use it- doubt it- unless a company institutes mandatory Phys Ed programs LOL. and 2)hiring a mathmetician to perform statistical analysis and create metrics for who? what? sounds too tedious to me- and if a company has that kind of money to burn- there's no need to squabble about the waste of money on the usage of gym memberships.

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