Poll: Would You Be Willing to Work Out on the Job?

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
1/14/2009 3:58 PM   :  327 comments

See More: fitness, health issues, poll,
In this fast-paced world, where added conveniences still leave many of us with little time in our day to devote to exercise, companies across the country are starting to stand up and take heed to help their employees get fit. After all, with the rising rate of diseases such as cancer and Type II diabetes, not to mention the staggering health care premiums many of these employers must dish out, companies are getting quite creative on how to tackle their employee’s health issues.

According to a recent study, if we do not change the path we are on, health care costs are expected to double every 10 years, leaving many employers with few choices but to cut jobs, reduce coverage, charge the employees more for the added cost, or sadly eliminate coverage all together--if they haven’t already done so.

Wellness programs have been around for many years; however, many companies in recent years have started to offer financial incentives to their employees to get fit and healthy. For example several years ago, IBM paid $150 to each employee who quit smoking, $150 for those who exercised at least three times a week, in addition to monetary incentives to lose weight, according to news reports.

Even state governments, such as Alabama, are starting to feel the financial pinch of the rising health care costs. As a result, if a state employee fails to get fit within a year’s time, he/she will be charged $25 per month for insurance, which is now covered at no cost to the employee.

So how do companies deal with healthcare issues?

Many larger companies are now offering top of the line gym facilities on campus for employee use, while other companies have elected to contract with local gyms to offer discounted memberships for their employees and families. A number of companies have also started offering flu shots, blood pressure checks, as well as cholesterol screens, and healthy lifestyle tips. While these may seem like unnecessary costs, studies show that companies providing such services incur less employee absenteeism, higher employee productivity, and a greater sense of well-being amongst their employees.

According to the February 2008 issue of Men’s Health magazine some of the country’s fittest companies include: Google, Nike, Genentech, and some surprises, Pepsico (the parent company of Pepsi) and Chick-fil-A. What these and the other 10 companies featured in this survey all have in common are onsite workout facilities, cafeterias promoting healthy food choices, incentives for being in shape, a means to monitor cholesterol levels and blood pressure, as well as programs to help their employees quit smoking and lose weight. Having access to such great facilities should leave no valid excuse unturned.

Just two years ago, it was reported that for every $1 spent on wellness programs, $3 in healthcare costs could be saved by the company. This is a huge savings when you are talking about companies with thousands of employees. However, with the current economic state of affairs, it is too soon to know if companies will continue with these programs, or cut them out completely to save money.

Do you work for a company that provides incentives to be healthy and fit? Do you believe in rewarding employees who choose to embrace healthy habits? Would being offered incentives to get healthy and fit encourage you to start?


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Comments

  • 327
    I myself cant stand jobs where your stuck sitting or standing in the same spot day in & day out I have to be moveing. I find the day goes by quicker. That & jobs that cant keep u busy the whole time ur there. No work makes for a long day. - 6/19/2012   9:05:03 AM
  • 326
    OH WOW! I would love it! I'm constantly tempted to just quit my desk job and go for something that would require me to move one heck of a lot more! - 3/29/2012   9:20:46 AM
  • 325
    I would love it! We do have access to a cheap membership & some health classes-
    unfortunately they are not nearby or convenient for me... - 10/22/2011   7:38:38 AM
  • STACIBUK
    324
    Wow! If I had a gym at work, I would be so happy. Yeah, I would defo use it. I would work out in the afternoon before lunch & after work. - 6/4/2011   1:03:10 PM
  • PROPMAN1
    323
    Already work out on my job despite the fact that instead of any reward for trying to be and stay healthy most of my non-working out co-workers just give negative comments. Reality is that if it weren't for this readily available spot - I would most likely not do it. - 9/8/2010   3:13:59 PM
  • 322
    It might be new for many companies but mandatory workouts have been in some companies for many years. I use to work for the induvuals that have had places for individuals to workout both for pleasure and required workouts for over 25 years. What company is this you ask. Of course is the armed forces. I have always had the opportunity to work out at work with the US Navy. They have always said you must be fit to be in the services. Even though I have retired, I still workout even today even though I am no longer active duty. - 9/6/2010   10:12:48 AM
  • N16351D
    321
    Yes, I would, and could work out on my job. My office is a private space. However, I tend to get so focused on my job, that I forget about stretching or doing anything for my exercise! - 9/4/2010   9:35:15 AM
  • 320
    This year, our company have 2 different rewards in the latest health campaign - for those who quit smoking and those who to lose 10% of their current weight - I myself couldn't join as I don't smoke adn 10% is too much for my current weight, I might be skin and bone in the end! I think this year is an excellent idea as from my rough estimate, there are lots of colleagues who too busy working and don't really taking good care of themselves. Sure, the company provides unlimited medical expense but by keeping fit and healthy, we can save more money and less sick leaves. - 9/4/2010   3:51:10 AM
  • 319
    It's funny (to me, but I'm weird that way)...I don't work outside the home. But after years of being on SparkPeople and making all kinds of excuses, earlier this morning I thought, "I'll just do the work around the house that needs to be done and do it hard enough/fast enough to make it my workout."

    So, I spent an hour weeding and trimming overgrown bushes to the point that I was sweating - just as if I was at the YMCA or walking around the neighborhood. And then, after I came back inside to post the minutes on my SP account, and reading this blog teaser, my first thought was, "well, I don't work for a company that offers fitness facilities where I can 'work out on the job'!!" and then I thought - "Wait a minute!! Your Home **Is** Your Job!! You HAVE a 'work out facility' - cleaning to be done, yards to mow, a new Wii fitness board for the Wii gift you just received from your brother, exercise videos and DVD's laying around the house unwatched, gobs of fitness exercise videos available to watch for free here on SparkPeople or elsewhere on the Internet.... WHAT AM I WHINING ABOUT!? Get To Work, SLACKER!!"

    So anyway that's my thought for the day, and I'm sticking to it. - 7/20/2010   12:38:22 PM
  • 318
    I'm in the company fitness center at lunch usually 4 days a week. But - I'm fortunate to have a job where I can take a longer lunch and make up the time at the end of the day. We also have company-sponsored health check-ups, a walking team competition, etc... I'm always shocked at what a small percentage of our employees take advantage of the programs offered at work, though. For a large site (500+ employees in the building) there are rarely more than 2-5 people in the fitness center at lunchtime. - 4/7/2010   8:35:21 AM
  • HUSBANDANDDAD
    317
    Our company does a good job of allowing us out to work out during the day - I am just finally starting to take advantage of it! - 4/6/2010   8:51:58 AM
  • 316
    well, I work for a small municipal government, and would LOVE to have the opportunity to work out during the day..when I do get the chance to sneak out to the gym during my lunch period, I feel like a million dollars. I certainly try to live that healthy lifestyle, if my employer could somehow make that an incentive for me, I would definitely take advantage!! - 4/4/2010   7:45:06 AM
  • 315
    well, thanks to prohibitively high parking fees at the university where I work, I bike to work. It's a great two-for. There are some incentives here, but I find biking to and from work is the bread-and-butter for my daily exercise. - 3/18/2010   2:56:50 PM
  • 314
    its a great way to help our nation become healthier and bring down medical cost, since healthy people get sick less - 1/17/2010   1:52:23 PM
  • 313
    Our health insurance provider and our company team up to pay your monthly fitness center membership if you exercise/attend at the facility 3 times per week. It is a wonderful benefit and very good incentive to get fit! - 10/18/2009   12:24:32 PM
  • HIFROMOHIO
    312
    I just got a job with Macy's where I'll be working in the back, so I'll be getting plenty of exercise on the job! It would be great if more companies, like Select Comfort for instance (I worked there briefly), had a gym in house or provided discounts for gym memberships. - 10/15/2009   3:46:10 PM
  • 311
    I am fortunate to work for an employer that not only worked with a local gym in the area for a discount but also provides a small workout room in house. I go down twice a week to hop on the eliptical machine. Even discounted I can't afford a machine or a membership so having that available has been great. I've noticed a real difference in my stress and energy levels through the day. I have an active job that involves akward movements with heavy boxes and the chance to exercise more helps me prevent aggravating old injuries as well. - 8/18/2009   7:41:23 PM
  • NEWDM2009
    310
    I work for a hospital and there are a lot of overweight and obese people here. Only the doctors and residents get access to the gym. I would love to workout at work and think this hospital could do a great thing by allowing all employees, for a cost, to be able to use the gym so that it would help get the employees of the hospital healthy before we go around telling others how to be healthy. - 8/18/2009   9:22:49 AM
  • JUSTDOINGITNOW
    309
    Hi everyone... we don't have a gym at work but I do walk with a few people and take a few breaks throughout the day to get in a few minute workout. I have 48 exercise clips that allows me to break up my workout preventing me from ever getting bored. - 8/17/2009   10:52:24 PM
  • 308
    I used to play racquetball at lunch. I loved it! The exercise has to be something you enjoy. I knew several ladies who walked at lunch, and took laps in the basement during the winter! I knew other friends who walked up and down stairs several times during the day. I had a gym membership with my husband that I only used once. I wanted to use the machines with my husband. He wanted to use the treadmill.

    It was hard for me to coordinate a time with my coworkers, except for racquetball. I am not good at consistency, and I wish I had taken advantage of these opportunities.
    - 8/15/2009   7:20:25 PM
  • AMARANTHA2
    307
    I work in the field or from home so it is moot but if I worked for a company that provided facilities like a gym onsite, I'd definitely like that.

    However, incentives and programs orchestrated by an employer would turn me off as fitness is my personal journey.

    I have a really great older brother in life and don't need Big Brother to be involved with my fitness, but that is just me.

    In the case, though, of an employer who pays part or all of the insurance or health care for employees, then it is possibly justified that they get involved in wellness programs. That doesn't apply to my situation.

    - 8/15/2009   6:38:23 AM
  • 306
    Do you work for a company that provides incentives to be healthy and fit?
    Sadly no.

    Do you believe in rewarding employees who choose to embrace healthy habits?
    I think that it's kindda sad that employers should have to 'bribe' their employees to 'embrace healthy habits'. Are people really that lazy? Staying fit, eating healthy, quitting smoking... who does that REALLY help? the eompoyee!! So why should the employee be bribed to do something good for themself?!
    Sure, I wouldn't mind having my job reimburse a portion or all of my gym membership fees but I joined the gym for ME. I suppose by that token, 1 could say they want their groceries reimbursed? Vitamins? Running shoes? It could get out of control.
    I have prescription coverage, they covered my pills to quit smoking. I think the rest is up to me. But that's just how *I* feel.

    Would being offered incentives to get healthy and fit encourage you to start?
    Living a healthy life is the motivation for me. My cousin works for a company that has a gym on-site, free to use at ANY time (even weekends!) & they even have a cafeteria, free to employees that only serves healthy food choices. I think that is GREAT! But I don't know that it's feasible for that to be the norm. Nice, ABSOLUTELY! But I think that people should want to get healthy for themselves, the incentive should be living longer, healthier lives... not b/c an employer is fittin the bill.
    - 5/11/2009   9:52:50 AM
  • 305
    I work at a grocery store where the neighboring gym offers a discount for employees. This was set up by my employers and there are many employees that take advantage of this! - 5/10/2009   12:01:40 AM
  • 304
    Of course! I am a Wellness Program Coordinator for a small company in FL and I absolutely love the idea of making health and wellness more accessible to our employees. We offer an opportunity to be more healthy that they would not have otherwise. I do get discouraged sometimes when it seems that more should take advantage of a program that others would love to have, but I just have to hope that I am making some kind of impact on them, even if they don't want to exercise with me! We offer programs that incorporate all aspects of wellness - physical, nutritional, emotional, intellectual, and social. I absolutely love being a part of the positive reactions and realizations our employees experience in their journey to better health! - 5/6/2009   1:43:33 PM
  • 303
    Being a personal trainer has it's perks! Not only do I work out on the job, but I have built-in incentive to keep fit! Who's going to hire an out-of-shape trainer?! - 4/23/2009   7:32:21 PM
  • BDERALEAU
    302
    employers should offer "assistance" whether money for or on-site fitness facility. The only problem with that is location. I would love it if they reimbursed my meager membership fee. - 4/22/2009   1:31:58 PM
  • 301
    Our college has a fitness facility that is open to all employees. However...I'm rarely on campus and find that walking either on my treadmill or outside is the best and easiest (with my schedule) for me. - 4/20/2009   8:28:43 AM
  • 300
    I worked for a company that had a full gym in the building. It was excellent, we had 3 ellipticals, 4 treadmills, 2 bikes, stability balls, free weights, and a full weights machine. Most of the employees that used it came in early, but I went during my lunch break. Sure I came back sweaty, but I had my own office so it didn't matter! - 4/18/2009   7:33:15 AM
  • 299
    I've worked for two companies that provided fitness facilities. Some people use them. Most don't. We're all gung-ho about it at first but then the idea of sweating and showering beside coworkers and executives gets a little awkward. Its also not easy to get in a good workout, shower, and healthy lunch if you only have a 30 to 45 minute lunh break. Most people that use the facilities either come in early or stay late. But few of us want to put in the extra time after an 8-10 hour workday, even if it is just for excercise.

    On the other hand, I did work for a company that had a 3 mile walking path which was nice. Walking is so low impact that most days you don't have to worry about working up a sweat and showering mid-day. Plus its a nice de-stresser - leaving the confines of the office for a little fresh air. - 3/11/2009   8:41:25 AM
  • 298
    Good afternoon and I have been trying to get my company to invest in a gym for years!~ I have invested in a membership myself but it would be so much better if I could have it at work - 3/6/2009   1:20:11 PM
  • 297
    My company offers a wellness program that pays out $250 per year for earning 16 points from "wellness" activites. This includes any company sponsored event, company sporting events, wellness seminars that employees put on and furthering our education. It's awesome. Also, we have a fitness center to use if we take a fitness class or purchase a membership. - 1/25/2009   7:28:58 PM
  • JILL2005MSW
    296
    The company I work for has 3 fitness centers in the 3 local towns that is free for any employee to use as long as they go through an orientation. That is one of the perks that keeps me at my job. - 1/25/2009   8:48:33 AM
  • 295
    There is a workout facility for one part of my company but, not for the others. Unfortunately I work in " the other " . That would be so great if they had it here for all to use because I certainly would! - 1/24/2009   10:46:41 AM
  • AMILAH
    294
    I work three jobs so there really isn't time for me to stop at any of them to 'work out'. The university I work at allows access to the gym facilities, as does the high school I work at; however, I also have a 2 year old child and a lot of student papers to grade. There really just isn't time between rushing 'here and there'. One of my jobs is as a waitress, I guess you could say that I get my walking workout there. :) - 1/23/2009   10:23:08 AM
  • CATHYMAX50
    293
    Yes, I definitely would work out at work. My company just installed a shower and change room. - 1/22/2009   7:35:12 PM
  • CHUBBYGIRL669
    292
    i work in a dispatch center and we have no room for equipment but what we do have is a staircase and drawers filled with hand weights that a group of us provided - 1/22/2009   4:55:14 PM
  • 291
    Absolutely...I think it would be a great idea! It wouldn't give as many people an excuse about not having enough time to workout. - 1/22/2009   12:28:57 PM
  • PMP9255
    290
    Yes - 1/21/2009   3:03:43 PM
  • 289
    My ex worked for TOYOTA (the US headquarters in CA) - they offered several wellness programs, including a huge on-site, state-of-the-art gym (with trainers on payroll, and showers/locker room). It was open early at 6am, and stayed open till about 6pm for a quick after-work work-out. All participation was supported by the management: if employees worked out over lunch, they were given extra time; if they were going to the gym, they could leave early, and other incentives... I WISH I worked there! Yes, if there were facilities like that where and when I worked, I would've DEFINITELY taken advantage. I'd probably go after work, so I could work out that working-mom stress and decompress before I went home to a houseful of kids! - 1/20/2009   9:53:04 PM
  • 288
    My employer has numerous gym facilities at very reasonable rates. It also provides free checkups for bone density, cholesterol, & blood pressure, as well as free flu shots. Other reduced-cost check-ups are available throughout the year. Free and low-fee health, fitness, and nutrition classes are available and it supports the Weight Watchers at Work program. It partners with other gyms in the community to provide reduced rates. In the long run, employers benefit from healthy employees, so I think it is in everyone's best interest for the employer, as much as possible, to provide some support. - 1/19/2009   4:51:59 PM
  • 287
    I'm actually in the military so we usually get to work out during work hours. We're supposed to get 90 min. a week but it all depends on your work and the mission. That always comes first. I wish we had group PT where we all did it together but I work with senior level people and you are never going to see them out doing PT which means we don't get to either. - 1/19/2009   12:32:42 PM
  • 286
    I work at a hospital, so I get free vaccines (including flu shots). We also have a great gym onsite (for a reduced rate to employees). The hospital also hosts an annual walk/run clinic and is free to staff members (as well as their friends and families).
    The only thing really lacking is there is a shortage of healthy choices on the cafeteria menu (just a few choices, not a lot). There are still loads of greasy french fries being served up daily. - 1/19/2009   8:08:59 AM
  • 285
    The company that I work for has added a walking trail on the grounds and utilized some vacant space by placing a few workout machines there. Thing is, we never see anyone working out. Sad! - 1/18/2009   11:50:57 PM
  • 284
    I used to work for a hospital that rewarded employees for exercise, with gift certif to a sporting goods store. It was great motivation, and also used the "write it down - journalling" method to keep folks on track, and be able to see your efforts in print. I benefitted from this for about 3 years until they stopped doing it. I think all companies should motivate and if possible, reward their employees for being healthy! - 1/18/2009   11:33:22 PM
  • MISSY1951
    283
    When I was working, my company had a small exercise room. I used to use it sometimes. However, my supervisor did not like me to use it.I did go for short walks at lunch time in a park when I was out in the field too.
    My agency also gave free flu shots every year. - 1/18/2009   4:49:49 PM
  • 282
    I did work for a company that offered discounted membership for employees and dependents and stop smoking assistance.
    I definitely believe in rewarding employees who choose to embrace healthy habits; its a great way for employees to focus on improving their lifestyle. - 1/18/2009   4:24:55 PM
  • 281
    Yes, I would do it for sure, but my company is not likely to offer it, so I just stick to 2-3 mile walks on my lunch break--weather permitting! - 1/18/2009   10:40:45 AM
  • 280
    I'd work out at work in a heart beat!! Unfortunately I work in healthcare and ironically enough, that's not an option for those of us that work in the hospital. That's OK, I work out at home/at the gym. I be sure to get my workouts in one way or the other. - 1/17/2009   11:39:42 PM
  • 279
    My company does that now. We have health incentives to lose weight, stop smoking, etc. We've even gone as far as to have gym facilities at some of our locations. The big corporate office actually has a whole gym where all you have to do is bring your shoes and sports bra. They provide you with a shirt and shorts and actually want you to go in that way. If you're in there in other clothes, you obviously don't work at that office. It's an amazing concept.

    Just walk in, get clothes, put on your shoes and work out. - 1/17/2009   10:04:24 PM
  • BENZER21
    278
    yes, My employer offers a wellness program. We track and log in our steps for points that go toward cash. We have challenges to earn extra. The hospital my daughter orks for also have a program. She just got a gift card for a 25.00 gas card to completing a biometric screening to participate this year. They let you know your health risks and there are programs and web sites to help. last year she earned an extra 100.00 - 1/17/2009   10:03:57 PM

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