How Philly Companies Are Helping Employees Be Healthy

Company cars and stock options are so last year. Now, Philly office workers want treadmill desks. Here’s how local companies are helping their employees be happy and healthy.

Imagine going to you work and finding a farmers’ market in the kitchen, a yoga class in the conference room, and a fleet of treadmill desks where you can walk while you work. No, this isn’t the workplace of the future—it’s happening now right here in Philly, as more and more local companies offer creative wellness benefits to keep employees healthy and happy.

It pays off: A study found that health-promotion programs—everything from gym membership discounts to weight-loss counseling—result in a 25 percent reduction in sick leave and insurance and disability costs; they also increase employee retention and productivity. And with the recent deluge of research about the dangers of prolonged sitting, many office workers are eager to participate.

Sonja Claxton, a project assistant at the Wayne-based health-research company Bracket, helped her office start a biweekly farmers’ market through the Delaware Valley Farm Share. The program doesn’t cost Bracket a dime: Employees pay about $25 per delivery and get a bag of fresh produce and a dozen cage-free eggs; the company simply provides the space. About a quarter of Bracket employees participate.

“Our halls are buzzing when Farm Share comes in,” says Claxton. “People love the convenience.”

That’s key—the most successful programs are ones that are easy for employees to join. Dan Calista, owner of Center City consulting firm Vynamic, encourages his staff to use the office’s two treadmill desks whenever they can—during calls with clients, while they’re writing proposals. Vynamic also provides free healthy snacks and drinks, and facilitates monthly off-site team-building activities, often fitness-related.

Drexel University’s Victor Tringali, who runs the school’s A Healthier U program, says management participation is important, too: “You need a leader who buys into this and is willing to provide an environment that inspires healthy behavior.” At Drexel, that means space, time and resources for things like sports leagues, meditation groups and a campus-wide Employee Olympics—not to mention access to the shiny new recreation center.

“All the feedback we’ve gotten is positive,” says Tringali. “I mean, who wouldn’t want to have a program that’s giving the benefit of good health?”

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  • Emma Green

    This is such a cool idea – to have a farmer’s market type thing right there at work! I would absolutely love it if my job offered something like that. It’s a great way to keep your employees healthy and happy! Good job!

  • Carol

    I love it. We would love to have a treadmill desk here. I also agree, the easier one makes it for employess to participate the higher number of people you can impact.

  • Fran Melmed

    I love to see Philly companies tackling workplace wellness in innovative ways! I work with a number of companies in the area, supporting their efforts to help employees and their families make better health and health care decisions.

    There are so many local and regional companies doing great work to improve the lives of employees inside the company and within the community — why not make this a series we can all learn from?!

    Fran Melmed

  • TrekDesk

    Many of the universities and colleges in Pennsylvania and across America are using the TrekDesk Treadmill Desk. They are available on the TrekDesk website however on TrekDesk’s Facebook page it is possible to enter a contest to win a free treadmill desk.