Employers Recognize Value of Physical Fitness

Article excerpt

Many corporations have become aware that a fit and healthy employee is a productive employee. Hence it makes good sense, as well as dollars, to show concern with the employees' physical fitness.

New corporate office buildings frequently are designed to include fitness centers, where employees can work out on machines, lift weights or ride stationary bicycles. Some even contain racquetball courts and jogging tracks.

The newest wrinkle in executive fitness is massage. Massage has been found to be important in stress reduction, because often tensions go straight to your muscles, especially in the back and shoulders. After a massage, employees are more relaxed, more positive in their outlook and more productive.

In some companies, massages have even become a fringe benefit, with the company paying for up to a specified number per week (usually two). Sessions last about 15 minutes, and the person being treated stays fully clothed.

Massages provided as an employment benefit are still, however, the exception and not the rule. But in many localities, it is becoming more common for employees to pick up the phone and call for a therapist for a quick treatment.

At first, as may be imagined, the practice drew some raised eyebrows and not a few jokes. But those who laughed when the therapist came saw how beneficial the treatment was, grew a little jealous and later picked up the phone themselves.

The result is that some new companies have been formed to provide this service to corporate clients. A few have a stable of physical therapists in their employ, but the more common pattern is for the company to serve as a referral service. Therapists list themselves with the company, and when it gets a call, it transmits it to the therapist.

QUESTION: Our auditor has suggested that we have a cash management audit. In 21 years of operation, our plastic pipe manufacturing company never had one before. Is he simply trying to drum up business for himself, or is this something new that would really help us?

ANSWER: While not exactly new, the practice is just beginning to catch on. Fewer than 10 percent of U.S. firms have cash management procedures, yet those that have them have discovered that such audits detect inefficient procedures, reduce financial and legal risks, and cut costs. …