In the 21st century, employees expect more from their job. Providing your company with a corporate fitness center is a much-appreciated perk that also helps keep your staff fit, healthy, and less stressed. Plus, this sort of corporate benefit attracts and keeps great employees, who are on the job and not home sick.

However, it’s overly optimistic to think that your company can simply build a fitness facility at work and employees will show up to use it. It doesn’t happen that way.

First of all you have a very limited total audience of just a few thousand or few hundred employees. Then, an even smaller percentage will become active users. So, you need enticements to get and keep people coming to work out.

You need a strategy

Along with a well-equipped fitness facility, you need a strong strategy to support it so you get the most out of your investment and encourage usage. If you are considering adding or expanding your corporate fitness center, Forbes magazine recommends that you:

  1. Hire the right staff to manage the fitness facility: Sure, having an unstaffed fitness center will save the organization money, but it opens it up to liability, less engagement, and much lower participation. According to Forbes, “Fitness centers need a dynamic energy and vibe that is welcoming to the members, and that must come from personal engagement. The staff is also a critical part of executing new fitness initiatives and wellness programs.”

  2. Create a wide-ranging outreach strategy: It’s easy to focus on the four walls of the fitness center, but outreach is crucial to engagement. Bring the fitness center outside of the gym. Create open houses to show off the fitness center to potential members, create new “offerings” that excite members like a self-defense martial arts or yoga classes or weight training programs. Regular emails and articles in the company newsletter will further support these programs. You can even offer rewards and incentives to employees who use the facility on a regular basis or meet fitness objectives, like weight loss.

  3. Develop ongoing fitness programs and initiatives: To keep the fitness center engaging, it is vital for the on-site staff to create competitions and other programs to keep current members engaged. By enhancing the experience, the fitness center will grow organically and appeal to a larger audience.

  4. Network: This is probably the most important aspect of a corporate fitness center. Network with other vendors within the company, cafes, departments, break rooms, etc. to create additional exposure. One of the best ways to network is to have the vendors experience the fitness center and their programs firsthand.

Consider your employees’ needs

Corporate fitness facilities typically include an individual workout area with cardio and strength equipment, and usually showers and changing rooms.

Do not cut corners when it comes to the changing rooms. In a corporate environment, it is particularly important to get this right. Allow enough space to accommodate prime-time use over the lunch hour and before and after work.

Also include a full complement of fitness equipment to provide a total body workout for all fitness levels. The most popular cardio equipment includes treadmills, ellipticals and stationary bikes. Cardio equipment with built-in TVs will enhance the participant experience. Include a variety of strength machines and free weights. Also think about incorporating core conditioning and functional training equipment, which has been steadily growing in popularity.

When purchasing fitness equipment for your company, look for a reputable dealer, like SOFITCO, who also has the ability to service the equipment. Purchasing quality fitness equipment is like buying a car. Do research and buy commercial-grade equipment that will perform well over several years.

SOFITCO is the supplier of choice for such corporate fitness facilities as those at as Black Knight Financial, Fidelity, Mercedes, and TSYS. Talk to us when you’re planning or expanding your company facility.