Keeping employees healthy and happy keeps companies running smoother
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/24/2012 -- The business section of Toronto’s Globe and Mail, Canada’s second-largest circulation paper, reports employers in that nation are increasingly offering their workers gyms at their worksites as a way to improve employee health and productivity.
British Columbia container maker Great Little Box Company Ltd., named by MediaCorp Canada to its list of the Top 100 Employers for 2013 in the nation, offers its workforce of 200 a free on-site gym, fully equipped with treadmill, elliptical cross-country simulator, stationary bicycles, various weights, a punching bag and a volleyball court.
The company’s workers also can annually get two company-paid hours of the services of a clerical worker who doubles as a personal trainer, and take part in a company program that lets them redeem for merchandise for points earned in local sporting and fitness events. Company CEO Robert Meggy notes its wellness program “goes over very, very well for us,” observing the company has a very low rate of employee turnover.
Larger employers, like Toyota’s 7000-worker plant in Ontario, have even more elaborate workplace exercise facilities, including volleyball, basketball, racquetball and squash courts. But such diverse Canadian workplaces as 3M, the National Ballet Company, software maker SAS, Toronto’s Sunnyside Medical Centre and the Winnipeg Airports Authority have found it makes good business sense to furnish workers with free or subsidized gyms at work, usually open around the clock and accessed by security cards.
Workers say they appreciate the perk of free or subsidized workplace gyms, especially the convenience of nothing having to squeeze trips to some other fitness location into their busy schedules. They add they’re more likely work out when what they need to do so is right at hand, and say that building exercise sessions into their workday gives them more energy at work.
Despite the expense of creating and equipping on-site exercise facilities, employers claim they can also see tangible payoffs from adding gyms to their work sites: wellness efforts can reduce stress, absenteeism, and turnover. Healthier workers may also be able and willing to work longer and harder. Among companies on the list of Canada’s Top 100 Employers for 2013 that have not added gyms to their worksites, some offer workers cash payments for outside fitness programs or gym memberships.
In an effort to lure and keep top talent over the long haul, companies in Canada on the Top 100 Employers for 2013 list provided a wide range of fringe benefits. Some of the other offerings included flextime and alternative work schedules, telecommuting, childcare assistance, transit subsidies, team-building free meals, training and tuition subsidies, payments for finishing additional coursework or gaining new accreditations.
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