Pay Your Employees to Exercise? Seriously?

Oh My! How times have changed,” may be a comment you frequently hear when you hang out with those in their senior (or should we say “sunset”) years. Those who survived the Great Depression and had a piece in helping rebuild a new America often remark at how times have changed in society, family and business. So, the new culture of employee wellness might come as a surprise to those who rolled up their sleeves and sacrificed for our nation.

However, whether we like it or not, there’s a growing concern among the health of our workforce and there’s a way businesses can help. And paying employees to exercise can be one solution to the problem.

Sweatin’ for a Salary

Companies handle workout compensations uniquely. Some employers like the Department of Financial Institutions and Department of Veteran’s Affairs in Kentucky actually give employees company time to hit the office gym and work out. Others sign on to health insurance companies like Aetna or Blue Cross Blue Shield that offer health care incentives for working out. And yet others are still providing company gyms, yoga classes, nutrition and fitness courses on-site for employees. Although the approach varies from employer to employer, one thing stays the same – just about all employers are testifying to the improvements employee wellness and exercise incentives bring.

Why Not Let Employees Exercise on their Own Time?

The traditional idea of working out either before or after work is slowly going by the wayside. For one, the line distinguishing “work time” from “personal time” continues to blur as smart phone technologies allow us to be “on call” and work nearly 24/7. Additionally, employers are starting to see the dent health care costs are making in their budgets.

The Chicago Tribune reports in their article Employees Get Paid to Exercise…

There’s incentive for all sides to shell out a little more upfront and potentially cut treatment costs later. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, working with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, says that without change, some 86 percent of Americans could be overweight or obese by 2030. That means $1 out of every $6 in healthcare costs will be due to heavy Americans.

So there’s more reason for employers to consider giving up a little extra time so that employees can fit in a cardio blast before their next conference call. Employers who either allow employees to work out during company time, or choose a health plan that involves compensation for workouts, are finding lower absenteeism, more productivity, higher employee morale and overall healthier employees. Plus, healthcare costs are dropping for those who offer incentives for workouts.

A story on Employee Exercise Breaks stated,

“… a Harvard University study published last year that found that “medical costs fall about $3.27 for every dollar spent on wellness programs, and absentee day costs fall by about $2.73 for every dollar spent.”

Working Out For a Healthier Workforce

Sure, times have changed quite a bit in the past 50 years – some for the better and some for the worse. Like it or not, Americans have found a multitude of ways to become more and more unhealthy – which has in turn hurt the workforce and the bottom lie of many companies. But amidst all of the fast changes that continue to hit business and society, a few things haven’t changed. To be a profitable business, you need a good workforce. Exercise is good for the body and the mind. And a healthy employee dramatically increases your bottom line.

Are your employees healthy? Find out through mobile on-site or walk-in testing from an independent lab that offers a panel of wellness tests.








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