When it comes to business productivity, almost nothing is as important as employee retention. Minimizing turnover means eliminating the downtime between losing one team member and replacing them with someone else (and the many hours or training it can take to bring them up to speed) and the high cost of talent acquisition businesses incur when someone quits or leaves.
So what makes a person loyal to the company they work for? While competitive salaries and flexible work schedules often play a key role in overall job satisfaction, there’s another crucial element some businesses miss: benefits.
Beyond paid time off or health insurance and retirement savings options, many workplaces are starting to embrace the value of instilling a foundational culture of fitness. But how far do gym memberships and healthy snack options around the office go to making employees feel better about their jobs? To find out, we surveyed over 1,000 people about the benefits their jobs offer. Read on as we break down how common fitness benefits are, which types get the most use, and how encouraging teams to work out more can have a positive impact on their productivity and performance in the workplace.
Value-Added Fitness Programs
When it comes to fitness-related benefits, some businesses go beyond the basics of reimbursed gym memberships or incentives. As many people continue to rethink the way they approach working out in a world where social distancing and health concerns have taken a new priority, some of these added fitness benefits may become even more valuable to employees.
More than half (57%) of full-time employees identified having at least one type of employer-sponsored fitness benefit. The most common programs facilitated by businesses included wellness challenges (24%), discounted gym memberships (22%), and access to healthy snacks around the office (21%). While somewhat less common, 17% of full-time employees reported having access to an office gym, and another 15% cited fitness incentives offered through work. Wellness challenges can be especially effective as they offer company leaders the opportunity to participate in setting and striving for fitness goals with their teams and allow employees who may be working in remote environments to continue prioritizing their health and wellness.
These benefits don’t go unnoticed, either. Seventy-three percent of respondents acknowledged putting at least one of their fitness benefits programs to use. While exercise-specific benefits were more common (51%), employees who were offered diet-related benefits (21%) were more likely to utilize these programs. According to those surveyed, employees were most likely to take advantage of free gym memberships (75%), healthy snacks (73%), and healthy catered lunches (69%). Moreover, free gym memberships and healthy catered meals at work were considered the most likely to retain staff.
Are Fitness Benefits Worth It?
The cost of benefits adds up to roughly 30% of an employee’s total compensation on average, which means the programs and services companies offer their teams often don’t come cheap. Given their real-world cost, just how beneficial are fitness-related benefits?
According to employees, the most common benefit of having access to fitness-related programs and services through work was better overall health (71%), followed by increased fitness motivation (66%), increased frequency of working out (43%), and higher satisfaction with personal appearance (40%).
In total, 1 in 3 people offered and using their fitness benefits said they experienced increased career satisfaction and an increased bond with their co-workers. In ranking the variety of benefits they might be offered, free gym memberships (80%) and free fitness classes (70%) had the highest worth, followed by access to an office gym (66%) and healthy snack foods (68%). While slightly more (53%) respondents would rather be given the face value of their fitness benefits, nearly half of full-time employees preferred receiving access to the services and programs offered by their workplace.
Better Workplace Environment
It’s not hard to track the benefits of maintaining an active lifestyle. Getting the recommended amount of exercise on a daily or weekly basis isn’t just good for your waistline, it can help relieve stress, improve heart health, boost your energy, and make you more productive. As it turns out, those benefits could be having a positive impact on your job, too.
Compared to just 57% of employees surveyed who don’t receive fitness benefits through work, 82% of respondents with fitness programs and services as a part of their benefits package reported being satisfied with their career.
Across the board, people with fitness-related benefits were happier with their jobs, including being 22 percentage points more likely to report satisfaction with their co-workers and 23 percentage points more likely to be satisfied with their employer and workplace culture.
More than just being offered fitness benefits, employees who used these health perks reported an extra two and half hours of productivity every week. Compared to 51% of employees who have health benefits but don’t use them, and 55% of employees who don’t receive fitness benefits at all, 69% of employees who take advantage of these fitness bonuses identified as being loyal to their employers.
Healthy Fitness Culture
The right benefits package doesn’t guarantee you’ll love your job or the company you work for, but it can be a step in the right direction. The benefits of staying healthy, including how we work out and the food we eat, can have a positive impact on more than our personal lives.
As we found, a majority of employees are offered some form of fitness-related benefits, and the ones who take advantage of these perks see the best results. Not only are employees who utilize their fitness benefits more productive on average, they reported being happier with their careers, their co-workers, and the company they worked for. For businesses, investing in employee fitness has the power to be a mutually beneficial investment where everyone gains something.
Methodology and Limitations
We surveyed 1,008 full-time employees regarding workplace benefits. 496 respondents were female, 510 respondents were male, and 2 respondents did not identify as male or female. Our respondents ranged in age from 18 to 82 with an average age of approximately 37.
To help ensure accurate results and honest responses, all respondents were required to correctly answer an attention-check question. In some cases, questions and answers have been rephrased for clarity or brevity. These findings rely on self-reporting, and statistical testing was not performed on this data. Potential issues with self-reported findings include, but are not limited to, exaggeration, selective memory, and attribution errors on the part of respondents.
Fair Use Statement
Intrigued by the results of our study on the tangential perks of workplace fitness benefits? We’re more than happy to share! Just include a link back to this page in any publication for noncommercial use so our contributors get credit for their work, too.