- “Workplace wellness” has been valued as a US$48bn market by the Global Wellness Institute, growing 4.8% year-on-year
- Offering engaging and inclusive exercise solutions for corporate clients can boost revenue and member acquisitions
- The recent Deloitte Corporate Wellness Report found that 78% of employers are looking to invest in physical activity programs in the next three years
- A Leeds Metropolitan University study suggests exercising during working hours boosts staff productivity, time management and work satisfaction by 15%
More healthy, more engaged, more productive and more united. These are just a few of the myriad benefits that can be reaped when a workforce is encouraged and enabled to exercise together.
The concepts of ‘sweatworking’ and team bonding have been long established, with studies suggesting exercise – especially *during* working hours – can boost staff productivity, time management and work satisfaction.
But as awareness around physical and mental wellbeing becomes more mainstream, the uptake of workplace wellness initiatives around the world is accelerating.
The recent Deloitte Corporate Wellness Report found that 78% of employers are looking to invest in physical activity programs in the next three years, while physical activity is also the main focus for the majority of programs already in operation.
Meanwhile, the Global Wellness Institute announced last year that the workplace wellness market is now worth US$48bn, up 4.8% year on the previous year and accelerating at an unprecedented rate.
The GWI – which tracks spending by employers on services ranging from physical and mental health screening assessments to wellbeing workshops and wearable devices – identified workplace wellness as one of the fastest-growing verticals of the global wellness economy, now valued at a staggering US$4.2tn.
Workplace wellness has been identified as one of three sectors expected to see the strongest growth as wellness integrates into all aspects of daily life – in particular, where people live, travel and work.
As a consequence, progressive companies ranging from dynamic startups to established corporations are investing heavily in workplace wellness initiatives to recruit and retain top talent and actively engage their workforce.
Nuffield Health specialises in this department, with over 200 corporate on-site gyms across the UK – most running LES MILLS group exercise classes – that have helped achieve employee membership levels averaging 41% and rising to 80% in free-of-charge facilities.
According to the Deloitte Corporate Wellness Report, on-site fitness classes are among the most popular current offerings from employers. Alongside gym membership subsidies, these were offered by 70% of US corporations who had a wellness strategy in 2018.
Of course, an on-site gym is a luxury for most businesses, so partnering with health clubs in close proximity is a much more realistic option for many firms.
The owners of state-of-the-art Stockholm gym SATS Stureplan identified this early, becoming one of the first clubs in the world to offer cycling program THE TRIP™ in 2015.
Harnessing the power of IMMERSIVE FITNESS™, the club deploys the wow-factor of THE TRIP to attract corporate bookings of its cycle studio, charging 3000 SEK (€300) per class. Typically delivering 2-3 of these class bookings each week for teams from nearby businesses, the corporate bookings provide a handy source of ancillary revenue for the club and attract a broad pool of corporate users into the club, some of whom go on to become full members.
Solving a business problem
Corporate wellness specialists PUSH Mind and Body can also point to hugely positive impacts made by delivering workshops on nutrition and exercise to clients.
According to founder Cate Murden, during two years working with HAVAS Media in London, staff attrition levels fell from 30% to 4.5%, saving the company £1.5 million they typically would have spent replacing team members.
“The numbers speak for themselves,” says Chris Pinner, founder of workplace wellbeing provider Innerfit. “Employees who work-out with their colleagues can also create an invaluable team spirit among a workforce, uniting everyone from the intern to the chief executive in a neutral setting.”
The only tricky bit is convincing HR managers that partnering with your club can deliver similarly impressive results for their staff and the company’s bottom line.
“To do this you need to identify a business problem your club can help them solve,” explains Pinner, having implemented corporate wellness initiatives at companies including Innocent, WeWork and law firm MacFarlanes LLP.
"Are their staff time-poor? Is absenteeism high? How common are musculoskeletal problems from staff being desk-bound all day? What benefits do they currently offer and how could your club help fill any gaps in their corporate wellness package?
“You need to be laser-focused on what business problem they’re trying to solve, but ultimately the service you provide must be engaging and inclusive,” says Pinner. “It’s one of the biggest challenges companies face and offering a group exercise class which only appeals to the fittest 5% of their staff just won’t cut it.”
For Pinner, clubs need to put themselves in the HR manager's shoes. “Listen to their concerns,” he adds. “Learn what their employees are looking for and, just like you would for your regular members, refine your corporate wellness package for every client on an individual basis.”
By offering an engaging, inclusive and flexible exercise solution to staff in close proximity to your club, you can start winning with workplace wellness and begin capitalising on a trend that’s big, and only going to get bigger.
3 ways to win with corporate wellness
MAKE IT ENGAGING
Group exercise classes, such as THE TRIP, are proven winners and a great way to convert one-off corporate guests into regular signed up members.
MAKE IT INCLUSIVE
Don’t just appeal to the top 5%. Identify what exercise solutions would benefit all their staff members equally.
MAKE IT FLEXIBLE
If staff are time-poor, tailor class availability to their schedule, but be careful not to prioritise corporate sessions at the cost of regular members.