Employers want their workers to be healthy. For one thing, it saves them a lot of money on healthcare costs. But few employers are willing to put their money where their mouth is like Clif Bar & Company.
The Emeryville, Calif.-based health food company offers its 490 employees an on-site gym, complete with a climbing wall and personal trainers, along with the more standard weights and exercise machines. But best of all, Clif Bar pays its employees to exercise. Workers can choose to work out for half an hour during the workday or take every other Friday off.
How the Program Works
“We have a program where if you work nine hours a day for nine days, then you get the tenth day — every other Friday — off,” cofounder Gary Erickson tells CNBC. “Or, you can work for eight-and-a-half hours and work out for 30 minutes.”
Erickson says the participation rate is “extremely high” and that employees “are more enthused and more inspired to work and fulfill their job because they have all these unique benefits.”
Clif Bar & Company offers a unique employee perk: paid workout time during the workday.
Why Your Boss Should Let You Work Out at Work
In addition to potentially reducing absenteeism and costs associated with health insurance plans, encouraging workers to get regular exercise may make them better at their jobs. Why? Exercise has been shown to make workers more efficient, more creative, and more resilient.
It may also help to exercise during the workday, not before or after work. A study published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management showed that six out of 10 workers who exercised during the day – for example, by playing basketball or doing yoga at lunch – reported an improvement in job performance on the days they worked out.
“On days when employees visited the gym, their experience at work changed,” Ron Friedman explained at Harvard Business Review. “They reported managing their time more effectively, being more productive, and having smoother interactions with their colleagues. Just as important: They went home feeling more satisfied at the end of the day.”
Does this mean that you’ll have luck convincing the boss to let you go to the gym for two hours before the 3 p.m. meeting? Probably not. But you might convince her to let you use those lunch breaks you’re supposed to take anyway to start a running group or bring in a yoga instructor. It’s in the best interests of the business.
Tell Us What You Think
Would you take advantage of a benefit like this? We want to hear from you. Tell us your thoughts in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.