You are committed to a healthier workforce, and a fitness area seems like a great way to make that happen. But what about the costs, equipment and other logistics — is it doable? The answer is yes, but you don’t have to spring for a large-scale facility that is full of gleaming equipment and high-priced technology. Answer a few key questions, then work with the resources you have to create a fitness area your employees will appreciate.
Question #1: Who is on board with the idea?
Getting buy-in is key before you invest any time, space or effort in a fitness area. Check with your employees to find out what their exercise interests and fitness levels are. You will probably need to accommodate everyone from beginning exercisers to fitness enthusiasts.
Question #2: Where will you set up your fitness center?
Sure, you could add on to your building or renovate. But consider an unused space you could convert to a workout area. Make sure it is big enough to comfortably hold exercise equipment and a certain number of people at any one time. It also should be easy to access but off the beaten path enough so as not to disturb workers at their desks.
Question #3: What equipment should you provide?
Budget is a big deal when you are setting up a fitness area. While you may not be able to please everyone, you can still offer a range of equipment to accommodate varied fitness needs. Start by focusing on the basics: cardio and strength.
Treadmills, ellipticals and stationary bikes are cardio all-stars. For strength training, you can offer a wide range of free weights. You could also add a machine or two for employees to train on. Don’t forget to bring in a few items such as yoga mats, exercise balls, fitness bands and other non-machine accessories. Offering exercise classes adds a social element and another source of physical activity.
Most important, be sure to train employees on the equipment so they can avoid accidents and injuries. It is also wise to create a liability waiver and a conduct agreement to make sure workers clearly understand the part they play in their own and everyone else’s safety.
Question #4: When can employees use the fitness center?
You do not want to disrupt the workday, but you also want employees to have the flexibility to exercise. Think through when you will let employees step away from their tasks to work out.
Question #5: Do you have a strategy for engagement?
You want to keep employees engaged with their fitness center and energized about working out in the dedicated space. Some ideas for your outreach strategy could include free classes such as self-defense seminars; a “know your numbers” event to check blood pressure and body mass index (BMI); and lunch-and-learns. Put signs up showing the way to the fitness area and use other communications to remind workers that they have a place to work out. Make your fitness center top-of-mind for employees so they will keep showing up.
You may be asking yourself if investing in a fitness center is worth it. A place for employees to work out can be a major asset to your company’s wellness program. You will find the answer to your question in improved morale, greater productivity and an overall healthier, happier workforce.1
1"Physical Activity." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. September 28, 2017. Accessed September 11, 2018.