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Corporate Gyms & Wellness Programs: The Productivity Miracle

By Michael Bower

Organizations with effective corporate wellness programs report 11% higher revenue per employee and 28% greater shareholder returns.


Nothing talks louder than money! more so in a corporate setting. In an environment where every employee is engaged in raking in the highest revenues for their employer, any significant policy change will need to assist in those efforts in order to become the law. So in order to make corporate wellness a norm, let’s talk numbers- according to a recent research conducted by the Harvard Business School, US companies are generating $3.27 for every one dollar they spend on their in-house corporate wellness programs.

Stagnant Environment Breeds Low Productivity

A productive workforce is undoubtedly a strategic corporate asset, yet few heed to the importance of its fitness level. Over the last century, obesity rates have doubled, physical activity levels have more or less declined, and if tested, more than half the current workforce will not be able to meet the minimum acceptable job standards of cardiorespiratory fitness. Even if you leave the high stress levels prevalent in offices out of it, lack of physical stimuli alone is responsible for decreased daily occupational energy expenditure by more than 100 calories.

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The negative impact of high stress work environment on overall productivity is nowhere as evident as in Japan. The country that made “Karoshi” (meaning: dying of overwork. literally) part of the conversation and boasts of the longest working hours in the world was ranked 20th among 36 member states for labor productivity by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in 2017. Considering the amount of work hours being punched in by Japanese workers, their national productivity level should have been out of this world. To counter this “High Stress-Low Productivity” scenario, progressive nations across the world are investing in corporate wellness and improving the work lives of their labor force by setting up office gyms for their labor force.

Benefits of Corporate Wellness (Office Gyms) on Collective Productivity

  • 77% employees say they would work out more if their employer provided an office gym they could use during work hours.
  • 70% employees enjoying a workplace wellness programs are more satisfied in their jobs
  • 89% of workers at companies that support well-being efforts are more likely to recommend their company as a good place to work. (American Psychological Association)

Stress Reduction

An effective office gym will educate employees about effective methods of reducing physical & mental stress. The most common office environment demands employees spending most of their day in front of a computer screen. This bears a lot of physical stress on their arms, wrist, back, and neck, not to mention the eye strain they suffer due to staring into computer screens all day long.

A great office gym program can easily address all of these issues by devising stress-reducing exercises like stretching and workouts for breaking monotony. In general, exercise is excellent for reducing stress and treating depression. It promotes better sleep, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

According to Virgin HealthMiles Inc. and Workforce Management Magazine, an overwhelming 77% of employees think that corporate gyms have a positive impact on company culture.


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30% of employees frequently start their work days on a negative note of feeling tired or low on energy.

Lower Insurance Costs

According to a research conducted by the University of Michigan,

  • Employers focused on health of employees can potentially save about $1100 per year
  • By keeping cholesterol levels under control, they stand to save $1200 annually.
  • And managing obesity amongst employees can save up to $1177 annually

According to healthcare industry experts, American businesses lose over a trillion dollars each year due to low productivity caused by smoking, lack of exercise, and improper nutrition.

38% of corporate wellness program participants said it helped them take fewer sick days. 62% said it helped them lower their healthcare costs


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In offices without a fitness program, 16% of employees suffer from lack of sleep brought on by negative work situations. 25% of employees regularly complain of physical and mental exhaustion after an average day's work.

Improved Team Spirit

Another hindrance to productivity in offices is caused by feelings of social isolation, not being understood, or lack of social contact with co-workers. Corporate gyms are synonymous to team building and encouraging camaraderie with group sessions and programs. This translates well into workplace productivity. This also increases a sense of loyalty within companies when employees see the company investing in their well-being. The teamwork atmosphere spreads in the whole community, which reflects a positive light on the organization. 

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70% of employers have improved their physical environments to encourage healthy behaviors, including adding healthy foods to cafeteria menus, walking paths, and ride-sharing program thus increasing team coordination.


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25% of employees frequently feel emotionally drained or exhausted. Employees who interact with customers on an hourly or daily basis are more likely to frequently feel physically and emotionally drained after an average day's work. 

Reduced Absenteeism

Absenteeism is commonly due to poor health and can be quite costly if it occurs on a regular basis. This is why having healthy workers is essential. The MD Anderson Center for Cancer in Houston is a great example of how office gyms can help tackle this issue as well. They set up an employee well-being and health department, and managed to save $1.5 million in over heads due to this issue. Within just six years the absenteeism at the center was cut by 80% and modification in duty rates by 64%.

According to the Buffett National Wellness Program and Workplace safety & Prevention Services:

  • Stress-related absences costs Canadian employers about $3.5 billion each year.
  • Six in ten Canadians believe “their employer has some responsibility in ensuring their good health.”

Employers offering wellness programs, 67% reported increased employee satisfaction, 66% reported increased productivity, 63% reported increased financial sustainability and growth, and 50% reported decreased absenteeism. (IFEBP)


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The top five stress symptoms causing missed work days are constant fatigue (29%); sleeplessness (26%); aches and pains (24%); high anxiety (23%) and weight gain (18%).

Combat sports like MMA, boxing, kick boxing, muay thai etc., are not just great for fitness but for stress reduction as well. Only a few sports harness the power of the four pillars of stress reduction as effectively as combat sports. Practicing martial arts can help improve your ability to combat and prevent the negative effects of excess stress.

In order to set up a cost effective gym facility within your office environment, may we suggest a one click solution like RDX Sports Wholesale Trade Portal. Here you can get advice about everything fitness and gyms. From internal floor plans to internal branding to fee structure management to realistic equipment quotes. Just give them a call (details on website) and find out how you can save BIG by spending a little on your Corporate Wellness Program/ Fitness Gym.

Gym-floor-plan-checklist

Also check out: The Ultimate MMA Gym Equipment Checklist

Tags: Gyms & Clubs

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