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Wacky Workplace Wellness -- From Aetna to Zappos

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Do corporations want us to be healthy? Well, certainly it's not their main focus... which is making a profit. However, employee health is viewed by many executives as a contributing factor to company health. And with good reason. Workers who are healthier take fewer sick days, have more energy to be productive, and have lower healthcare costs.

Companies are striving to improve the health of their employees with creative workplace wellness programs. The Center for American Progress reports an average employee takes 3.9 sick days a year, plus another 1.3 sick days for their family members. Of course, some of these "sick days" may conveniently fall while March Madness games are played or to stretch out a long weekend, but let's assume most of them are legitimate. We are talking about hundreds of millions of work days lost each year, costing businesses hundreds of billions in lost productivity.

Health care costs continue to rise. Businesses spend $9,500 per employee on healthcare-related costs. They're feeling the pressure and looking for ways to cut costs while maintaining happy and energized workers.

Below are some unique workplace wellness programs that work for both companies and their employees.

Aetna Pays For Sleep
Aetna, the health insurance behemoth, places an emphasis on its employees being well-rested. CEO Mark Bertolini implemented a new sleep wellness program that encourages employees to get their zzz's. To keep track of sleep, Aetna employees wear Fitbit trackers. When employees record 20 consecutive nights of seven or more hours of sleep, they receive $25 a night, up to $500 for the whole year.

Earth Friendly Products Loves Swapping
Since this company distributes healthy sustainable food, it seeks to provide for its employees. Each facility has an organic garden where employees snack on fresh fruits and veggies. The company also encourages employees to utilize their resources by swapping household appliances and clothes with other employees. They even have regular swapping parties where they exchange items. Seems like the ultimate Secret Santa with major wardrobe consequences.

Google Encourages Healthy Learning
Google is known for having a sushi bar and other fun perks for its employees. Google takes fitness very seriously. The company created a wellness division dedicated to investing in finding unique ways to improve the health of their employees. The Googler’s Educator Program provides a range of classes, from kickboxing to parenting, which employees may attend. Employees are even encouraged to start their own classes based on what interests them. Depending on the location, Google also offers massages, swimming, ping-pong, nap pods, and other outlets of stress during the workday.

Zappos Rewards Exercising
Zappos is known for being a leading company when it comes to both customer service and employee satisfaction. The online shoe retailer offers plenty of employee wellness incentives, such as free fitness classes, marathon reimbursement, and health club memberships. In addition, executives instituted weekly wellness adventures, because they know that some prefer exercising outside a gym setting. Golf lessons, trampoline parks, laser tag, and basketball games are all offered each Tuesday.

By offering their employees a healthy, fun lifestyle, employers create more focused, energetic, and hardworking employees. All work and no play is no longer the answer for employee or employer success. While some of these incentives seem a bit extreme, they may make their way into your workplace in the very near future.

We’d love to hear from you. Does your business have any unique incentive programs? Comment below or on our Facebook page or tweet us at @flytefitness.

Be Flyte Fit,

Taylor Hahn
Contributing Writer, Flyte Fitness
Certified Group Instructor & Personal Trainer

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