The Problem with Onsite Gyms

On-site gyms are a great idea for theory.

I mean, we all know that exercise is beneficial, right? And that getting out of the chair has lots of benefits, increases blood flow to the brain, improves cognition and focus, and makes employees happier and healthier (which saves the employer money). So what's the problem?


Not in most organizations, anyways. Sure, there are usually a few die-hard gym rats who make the time to go. And there are a few iconoclastic organizations that have decent use of their onsite fitness facilities (Google and Facebook come to mind)

But most don't. Why not?

It would be easy to attribute the lack of use to laziness, and there is some truth to that. But the far bigger reason? Corporate culture. In most organizations, there is still a perception that using the onsite gym means they are working less, and conversely, producing less. It's the same reason why teleworking experienced the same issues when initially introduced (and still has a negative perception in some organizations). And the same reason why organizations that introduce an 'Unlimited Vacation Policy' often have employees taking LESS time off.

Okay, so how do we change this?

It is a long, hard path to change corporate culture, my friend. And not likely to happen quickly. Visible executive support is critical (get that CEO in there during work hours!). Gamification helps (have a contest for most stationary bike / treadmill miles clocked and post results weekly). Until the corporate culture changes, how do we gain the health and productivity benefits of getting employees out their chairs? Well, standing desks are a great starting point. Not only do they get people out of their chairs, but they also introduce subtle and gradual culture change. Once standing becomes more acceptable, general health attitudes will shift, and working out in the gym will become more acceptable.

Want to talk more about changing your culture and improving your office ergonomics? Contact AnthroDesk today!