If you like paying for stuff your employees don't use - try a gym!
A 2005 study by two California researchers, titled "Paying Not to Go to the Gym," examined nearly 8,000 gym members' attendance over three years. You might be surprised to learn that 85% of users who bought a monthly contract were spending more money than if they paid on a per-use basis. That's because most members paid more than $70 per month but only visited the gym 4.8 times each month. They paid about $17 for each visit.
How effective were those 4+ visit per month at actually transforming members' health? It's anyone's guess, but chances are a 30 minute workout on the treadmill and a couple of half-hearted bicep curls are hardly enough to make a dent in the number of calories found in daily latte, scone or other weekday indulgence.
Fight! This could get ugly:
The 300 Pound Gorilla:
Corporate Gym Membership
Weighing in at an average of $35-70 for each of your employees per month, this hometown favorite is sure to pummel employees with early cancellation fees when they realize that their 4 trips per month just aren't cutting the mustard. And for you the employer? Each attendee's 4 trips per month to make a trip to the sauna and catch up on sitcoms as they gingerly touch the pedals of a recumbent bike is never, never, ever going to make a dent in your health care or absenteeism costs. I don't care what anyone else tells you.
Your Company's Own Home Grown On-Site Program
Creating a simple on-site health and wellness program at your own company might not be the most sophisticated option, but is not a bad start. It can often cost less than a catered dinner for one of your larger departments. Use your network to find qualified presenters and set up a series of topics that are relevant to your workforce. Pay the presenters and ask them not to sell to your employees (which will make people hate the classes). If they are good, invite them back. Get a team involved and have them help you promote the program through relentless word of mouth, emails, posters and anything else that will get people's attention - if only for a moment.
Take the money that you would have spent on a corporate gym membership and offer it as an incentive for employees who attend a certain percentage of the seminars you hold, or, rotate incentives (i.e. anyone who comes to a seminar for the very first time qualifies for an incentive).
True, this is not the most effective, expensive version of corporate wellness; however, it is a heck of a lot better than paying for something that no one uses. Better yet, if they aren't using it you know it and can either:
- find ways to promote better use, or,
- drop the cost altogether and find a benefit with more universal appeal.
Editor's Note - It's hard to be humble when you're bloggin' straight out of Portland, Oregon. Tanya Barham is the Founder and CEO of Recess Wellness, a company where all the staff works like little elves at Christmastime to transform their client's workplaces into healthy, happy, productive places akin to Santa's workshop at the North Pole. Seriously. Of course, Santa's fat, so they still have work to do.