Corporate wellness programs strengthen businesses
By Kai Oliver-Kurtin
To invest in employees’ health and wellbeing, an increasing number of companies are offering corporate wellness programs that encourage employees to be active.
The rewards of this long-term commitment to employee health include lower employer health care expenses, a stronger team dynamic and an increase in interdepartmental communication, among others.
Red Door Interactive, a Downtown marketing and advertising agency, is one company benefitting from such a program.
As the company’s top leader, President and CEO Reid Carr eagerly took ownership of the investment, as one of his roles is to set the tone for the organization and he saw this as one way to do that.
“It is a personal commitment I have made for myself, so I felt it was appropriate to share that with our employees,” he said.
Carr said they chose Downtown’s Fit Athletic Club as their health and wellness partner for a number of reasons.
“They are in our building and were able to craft a program that fit our company’s goals,” he said. “We could do it as a private group so that we could share in the experience together and people didn’t have to be a member; it was appropriate for different fitness levels; it fit within the lunch hour; and it was measured — something core to our business as a data-driven marketing agency.”
Fit, located at 350 10th Ave., works with six other local corporate clients — including Downtown businesses Bumble Bee and Houzz — offering each customized employee wellness programs similar to what they offered Red Door.
“None of our wellness programs are exactly alike, because no two companies are exactly alike,” said Scott Lutwak, owner and CEO of Fit. “By tailoring the program specifically to each corporate client, we can optimize their results — whether [their goals are] employee health, increased productivity, better boardroom discussions, or all of the above.”
Fit also has numerous small- to medium-sized businesses that take advantage of group memberships, which offer their employees discounted or complimentary memberships at Fit.
“For most companies, the biggest barrier to integrating a corporate wellness program is cost,” Lutwak said. “Many executives see corporate wellness as an expensive and optional perk to employment, but numerous reputable studies have confirmed that it saves employers substantial health care costs over time.”
Wellness program options might include personalized boot camp-style classes, group fitness classes especially for employees, fitness classes that incorporate team building and camaraderie, those designed for inexperienced exercisers, or coworkers training for a charity race.
Red Door added a weekly boot camp class to their corporate wellness program at Fit about a year ago. The idea came as a suggestion from employees through their internal morale and wellness committee.
“Anything we do that fosters teamwork outside the office brings the teamwork back into the office,” Carr said. “When you have people from different teams and departments who come together, it fosters unique communication that you can’t get in any other way. Ideas are shared and people are just generally more comfortable and in tune with one another.”
For clients whose employee schedules don’t allow for time to leave the office, Fit will bring the personal trainers to them. Typically lower intensity sessions that can be done in work clothing, these might incorporate stress management, breathing techniques or yoga poses movements that aim to get employees out of their chairs and become more alert.
Red Door employee Justin Gabbert said the boot camps have helped him push himself harder in the gym, and have served as a great way to form friendships with other colleagues. Another employee, Macy Fackrell, said she appreciated that Red Door places a large emphasis on staying active and feeling good both inside and outside of the office.
“We provide a number of activities to share with and inspire one another,” Carr said. “Among other things, we do weekly ‘we:30s’ where everyone gets together, shares snacks and features a ‘star of the day’ to get to know them. We also have our summer games, baseball outings, [and other events] that are now traditions.”
Carr said his managers and their direct reports even go walking together, something they call ‘walking 121s.’
“[They] get out, get some exercise and enjoy the beautiful outdoors,” he said. “It is why we live here.”
For more information on Fit’s corporate wellness program, visit fitathletic.com.
—Kai Oliver-Kurtin is a local freelance reporter who also works full-time doing social media marketing for the U.S. Navy. She enjoys covering events, restaurant news, culture and entertainment. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Editor Morgan M. Hurley contributed to this report.