It’s common for companies today to offer some type of workplaceperks — snacks, happy hours, swag, work-from-home days, andincentivized wellness programs. But what types of perks reap thegreatest return on investment?

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Related: How to spark engagement in wellnessplans

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Fitness and wellness benefits, including group outdooractivities and fitness classes offered in the morning before workor throughout the day, promote the well-being of an employee. Suchbenefits have tremendous positive impact over time, from improvinghealth and increasing productivity to boosting employee engagementand retention.

Encourage a healthy lifestyle

More and more, CEOs aim to encourage a healthy lifestyle amongtheir employees. Keeping your employees healthy keeps your companyhealthy by reducing the likelihood of needed sick time taken andresources associated with compensating for employees out sick.Additionally, emphasizing wellness helps companies cut health carecosts.

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Related: Employee engagement in health programs benefitsemployers

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Many full-time employees find it difficult to make time toexercise before or after work, so companies have started to offerfitness classes during work. From functional fitness, yoga, andeven out-of-the-box options like chair massages and stress-reliefsessions, employees not only improve their physical, emotional andfinancial health, but have fun doing it.

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These offerings also help encourage those who may not exercisetheir own, whether due to expenses or feeling uncomfortable in agym setting. Offering employees an opportunity to exercise in aconvenient setting encourages those people who may not have seenexercise as a priority in the past.

Increase workplace productivity

A study by Stanford found exercise immediatelybenefits cognitive functioning in both younger and older adults.The benefits range from improved concentration, sharper memory,faster learning, prolonged mental stamina, enhanced creativity,lower stress, and increased positivity, all attributes that have atremendous impact on being more productive at work.

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Related: Top employee engagement drivers for the workplacein 2017

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Exercise throughout the day also gives employees the opportunityto step away from a project, clear their mind, and reprioritize.Some of our best ideas come to us on a whim, and stepping away fromthe desk allows employees to gain perspective. Exercise also leavespeople feeling energized, so offering mid-day classes puts thisenergy to good use.

Boost employee engagement

Not only do these tailored activities improve employees’engagement when they go back to work, it also makes employees feelimportant to and appreciated by their organization. The APA’s“Workforce Retention Survey” says that employees stay at theirjobs because they enjoy the work they do, their job fits well withthe other areas of their life, benefits, pay, and they feelconnected to the organization.

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Related: Corporate culture, chronic disease and the carecontinuum

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We’ve found when employees feel that management sees theirhealth and happiness as a priority, they are more likely to workhard for their company and develop loyalty to their job.

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Exercise classes during the workday also offer an opportunityfor executives to engage and interact with their employees, makingthem more accessible and approachable to their workforce. I’ve seenthis first hand, getting the opportunity to spend time withemployees I wouldn’t otherwise encounter throughout the day.

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It also helps foster better relationships between those who maynot have the chance to interact otherwise, which can improveteamwork, employee morale, and employee retention rates (savingyour company time, money, and resources).

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So now, not only are your employees healthier, happier, and moreengaged — but your business is in an overall better position tosucceed.

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