How would you like your boss to buy you a Jawbone, Nike+ FuelBand, or a Fitbit? That would be a nice gift, no? A great gift indeed, but it may not be just a nice gesture. It turns out that many companies are making a point of promoting better fitness among their employees by using the latest apps and gadgets. This may be seen as an intrusive policy, however it makes sense for companies to want their workers to live healthier lives. That benefits the workplace and the overall life of the workers. Out of shape workers often miss more work time due to illness and may do less work as they may not have the energy of a more fit coworker.
You may be thinking, “What’s the big deal. My employer doesn’t need to worry about my weight, exercise regimen, or how many steps I take in a week.” While I am all in favor of one’s personal liberties and would never want anyone forcing me to do anything against my will, health is a different issue. A worker’s health directly affects his or her performance inside a company. Clearly we here in the USA have a huge problem with fitness. We simply don’t move our bodies around enough to work off all the extra calories from the all too convenient fast food and junk food. One in three Americans are overweight so I am all for companies doing whatever they can to get their workers in better physical shape. Workers unhappy with this or any other policy can always seek work elsewhere. This may seem cold hearted, but I’ve never understood why anyone would want to work for a company that went against that person’s values anyway.
The trend seems to be going in a competitive direction. Many companies are offering cash bonuses for people using these health trackers. Money talks so that means more workers on walks. Who wouldn’t want to try and win some extra cash by having the most steps recorded on a given week or win a gift card for burning the most calories over the weekend? Even the losers in these contests are winning from a health standpoint.
I would love to see us as a country turn the tide on obesity. It’s awesome to live in a country where food is so abundant and we have machines to do much of the physical labor our grandparents had to do with their own two hands. The tradeoff has been our increasing waistlines and embarrassing obesity rates. We can do better as a nation and it has to start in small groups. Most all of us have to work so this new fitness trend in the workplace is bound to help a great number of people.
I used to think of exercise as a waste of time since we can all just drop dead at anytime no matter how much weight we can lift or how many miles we are able to run. I finally figured out that exercise is meant to make us feel better while we are still alive. It may not save us from a sudden demise (no one is getting out of this alive), but a fitness program can make life much better. Feel good, look good, get paid good!