How to Start a Successful On-Site Fitness Program for Employees

How to Start a Successful On-Site Fitness Program for Employees

February is Heart Health Month. Employee health is an important all year, but this month might inspire you to consider how you can incorporate wellness into the workplace. One possibility is to add on-site fitness programs.

The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week. Workers are busier than ever.  After work making dinner, helping kids with homework, and settling on the couch with This is Us bump exercise off the to-do list.

What if exercise was integrated into the work day? The convenience of working out in the office limits excuses and motivates employees to take care of their heart health. There are both small- and large-scale options to build on-site fitness programs for employees. Consider your employee population and budget to roll out a successful initiative.

Walk Your Way to On-Site Fitness

A walking club is the simplest way is to start. Walking is a low-impact activity that shows positive results mentally and physically. If there is safe space to walk near your office, encourage employees to step outside during their lunch breaks. Walking and talking with colleagues creates bonds and fosters employee morale.

Add friendly competition into the mix and organize a steps challenge. Workers compete to earn the most steps with the winner awarded a prize. Trion Group, Inc. hosted our own challenge and the winner earned a gift card.

Beyond rewards, the financial overhead for this style of on-site fitness is low. There is no equipment or instructors. Workers can use their smartphones to track daily steps.

On-Site Fitness is at the Head of the Class

If you want to take on-site fitness to the next level, hire an exercise instructor to teach a class. Start with a weekly class. If interest peaks, consider adding new options. Chose a class that requires limited or no equipment. So, Zumba yes, SoulCycle no.

Some popular times for classes include lunch time, early morning and late afternoon. Early birds might come in for a 7 am aerobics class. Others want to shake off the mid-day slump with a lunch class. An end-of-day class is a strong option for on-site fitness programs for employees as it lets workers go home after to shower.

This option requires open, indoor space, so it may not be available to all companies. Space for the class should be removed from other workers so the noise won’t bother them. Let all employees know class times so they can schedule meetings and phone calls accordingly.

Make sure proper legal protections are in place. Only hire insured instructors, preferably those certified in their specific fitness area. A lawyer should write waivers for employee participants that release the company from liability for injury.

Hit the Gym for On-Site Fitness

For the ultimate in workplace exercise, create a corporate gym. Buying equipment for employees is a hefty price commitment up front. However, the continual costs are low.

A gym would let workers exercise at their own pace at the time that’s best for them. Employees can squeeze in a session on the elliptical to clear their heads before that big presentation. Workers are more loyal to employers that look out for their well-being. 80% surveyed in one study said a workplace wellness program would entice them to stay with the company.

If budgets are a concern, partner with other companies in your building to buy equipment for on-site fitness. Workers would share the common exercise space. A corporate gym is an incentive to convince new companies to come into the building. As with classes, draw up a legal waiver for employees to sign before using the equipment.

On-site fitness programs for employees require an investment of time and money, yet could offer long-term cost savings. For every dollar spent on workplace wellness, employers saved $1 to $3 per employee on annual healthcare costs. Engagement in corporate fitness programs reduces sick days and increases productivity, which affect the bottom line.

One-third of prospective employees said free exercise classes would impact their decision to accept a new job. A little more than one-fifth said the same thing about an on-site gym. In the current employee’s market with its low unemployment rates, any advantage is a smart move.



Written by Danielle Love

Danielle is a benefits communications specialist, working on behalf of clients to write, edit and design dynamic print and virtual communications. She also manages the Trion Communications blog, which highlights the practice’s diverse areas of expertise.

Trion Communications

I Want to Ride My Bicycle

I Want to Ride My Bicycle

Each month, I am focusing on one of the eight dimensions of wellness with a relative activity. This month I chose Physical Wellness, which recognizes the need for regular physical activity. What did I choose to regularly stay active? Bike riding. I have not ridden a bike since my childhood and had no plans to start, but then the following happened:

Scene – In the car with E on a country road.

M: Wow, great scenery on this road. It makes me want to run on it.

E: It’s nice – it’s one of my bike routes…you should get a bike.

M: Yeah, maybe. I’m not sure I will get much use out of a bike.

E: Get one for road and trail, then you’ll have more options.

M: Okay cool, but do I have to wear the Tour de France bike gear?

E: Yeah, and probably padded shorts to protect your sit bone and a helmet.

M: I was thinking I would just wear shorts and get some sun while I’m at it.

E: You’re not riding with me without a shirt.

Off to the bike shop I go.

Seeing all the sexy bikes hanging in the bike shop banished my biking reservations. After discussing my riding intentions with the bike guy and test riding a few bikes, I ended up with a sweet ride—plus, I only went $60 over my budget, which seemed reasonable with all of the tempting upgrades and accessories available, including clipless pedals, cyclometers, lights, tire repair kits, water bottles, pumps, gloves, and helmets.

Two rides later.
So far, I’ve been on two twenty mile rides and I enjoyed them more than I thought I would. Riding is a great way to see things from a new perspective, enjoy a nice day outside, and obviously, get exercise. My bike performed fantastically well and is a perfect fit for my plans of road riding, trail riding and around town riding. Bike riding is now a regular part of my physical wellness routine.


Written by Mike Turko

Mike is a senior graphic designer at Trion. He specializes in communicating ideas through both print and digital design mediums. Mike also works to develop custom, interactive digital marketing campaigns that effectively engage a variety of employee audiences.

Trion Communications

I Recently Discovered I Am 7/8ths UNwell!

I Recently Discovered I Am 7/8ths UNwell!

In the past, I’d often hear the term Wellness and think “Oh, I know all about wellness. I have it covered since I work out and eat healthy.”  It turns out there is a lot more to being healthy—well, seven “a lot mores” to be exact. Seven areas, which for the most part, I haven’t gone out of my way to think about or work on.

What are the seven dimensions of wellness that took me from thinking I have wellness covered all the way to the other end of the spectrum where I learned I’m only measly 1/8th well? Besides Physical Wellness they are: Emotional Wellness, Occupational Wellness, Environmental Wellness, Intellectual Wellness, Social Wellness, Financial Wellness, and Spiritual Wellness. The wellness list is overwhelming, but since I want to be well I came up with a plan to get myself up to 8/8 well.

My Plan. Simply, my plan is to pick one dimension a month along with a relative activity and do it. To keep things exciting, the activity must be a new experience for me. After, I will rank the experience on how well I feel. My first month will be my easiest dimension, Physical Wellness. I have not decided on the new activity I will be exploring, but I am excited to get started on this new wellness plan and in eight months I will have worked on all eight dimensions.

Why start now? I want to tackle wellness from all perspectives, while trying out new experiences.  I’m hoping it will help me learn what it really means to be “well.”

Written by Mike Turko

Mike is a senior graphic designer at Trion. He specializes in communicating ideas through both print and digital design mediums. Mike also works to develop custom, interactive digital marketing campaigns that effectively engage a variety of employee audiences.

Trion Communications