Walk the Talk

corporate wellness

When you visit Anytime Fitness’ employee wellness website, you’ll find the following message: “Invest in the health of your employees and the return is exponential. A healthier, more motivated workforce is a happier, more productive workforce. Through our innovative approach to wellness, we’ll help both you, and your employees, improve your bottom line.”

This message isn’t just a marketing ploy. The benefits of employee wellness have been proven, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting that happier employees take less time off, stay longer and have lower healthcare costs.

But when it comes to employee wellness, not many companies know where to start. So, some turn to partners like Anytime Fitness to help them create customized programs that can benefit their employees’ mental and physical wellbeing.

Anytime Fitness has taken this a step further. Not only does it preach the benefits of employee wellness to other corporations, it practices this theory.

“Our co-founders, Chuck Runyon and Dave Mortensen, don’t believe in focusing on programs designed specifically to help employees become more productive workers,” clarified Mark Daly, the national director of media for Anytime Fitness. “Instead, they want to help us become more fully evolved and happy people, and they think that the production will follow.”

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In April 2016, Anytime Fitness’ employee wellness initiatives will culminate in the opening of its new headquarters in Woodbury, Minnesota. Located on 38 acres, the 80,000-square-foot building will boast a full-size Anytime Fitness gym, in addition to being surrounded by walking, hiking, biking and jogging trails.

Here, roughly 200 Anytime Fitness corporate employees will not only be able to work, but also be able to learn how to better their personal and professional lives. “The concept was for the new building to be a model for work site wellness,” said Daly. “We will be bringing in speakers to make presentations at our headquarters, so we have a large multi-media training center designed to facilitate that.”

At the core of Anytime Fitness’ employee wellness initiatives are its “Ingredients Classes,” which educate staff on a number of key topics including cooking, healthy diets, and even skydiving, art and parenting. “One half of one percent of all corporate revenue at Anytime Fitness are annually dedicated to employee enhancement,” said Daly. “Each department head is given a budget and encouraged to arrange fun, team-building outings.”

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Due in part to these employee wellness initiatives, Anytime Fitness has been named “Best Company to Work For” in the 100-plus employees category by Minnesota Business Magazine for four years running.

However, the company doesn’t offer robust employee wellness initiatives just to win awards. According to Daly, Anytime Fitness’ co-founders truly believe in the benefits of boasting happy, successful and fulfilled employees. “It’s about as important as everything else, making sure that we walk the talk, and I think it’s contributed mightily to our remarkable growth,” said Daly. “We’re happy doing what we do.”

In addition to an in-house gym and educational seminars, some of the employee wellness initiatives at Anytime Fitness aren’t as tangible. For example, Daly referenced a promise that Runyon and Mortenson made to all employees, stating that they never need to miss an important life event, such as a child’s recital or family emergency, due to work.

“If you feel like you need to be someplace else besides work, that’s where you need to be and that’s where you ought to be,” said Daly. “We count on and trust that our employees will get their work done one way or another or on their own time. I can tell you from personal experience that when my mother was at the last stages of her life, I spent the better part of two weeks with her, but that’s the way it is for everybody. It’s really unique and special.”

One other intangible benefit is Anytime Fitness’ emphasis on fun. “Chuck and Dave will tell you that they only hire people with whom they want to spend a large portion of the day with,” said Daly. “We spend so much time at work that they want work to be fun. They want to be surrounded by people who bring joy to the workplace. Of course they want talented, smart people, but that alone isn’t going to get you a job. You need to fit into the fun-loving culture.”

This attitude, said Daly, is one that benefits both employees and the business. “If you’re not having fun then it becomes work, and people will be much more productive if they’re happy doing what they do,” he said.

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