Gym reimbursements seem like a win-win, but workplace fitness solutions aren’t one-size-fits-all. Personal well-being goals and preferences vary widely. Innovative companies understand that not everyone craves strength training or treadmill workouts in a crowded gym or has room for home equipment. Achieving total well-being should encompass diverse sports and fitness activities. Top talent wants personalized benefits for their unique needs. (6-minute read) 

Next-level fitness and wellness benefits help HR leaders attract and retain top talent. As each new generation enters the workforce, employee expectations evolve. Expanded reimbursement programs are more engaging, accessible, and effective than gym memberships alone. Empowering freedom of choice and total well-being is mission-critical. Supporting employees’ movement and wellness practices reduces stress, improves overall health, and boosts morale

In this article, you’ll learn how to personalize reimbursement programs to benefit employees and promote total well-being. We’ll explain why limited gym reimbursements fall short of achieving holistic health and how companies can elevate benefits programs with a Lifestyle Spending Account (LSA). And most importantly, we’ll share how fitness and wellness are within reach for all your employees! 

Here’s what we’ll cover:

Evolve beyond gym reimbursements 

Gym reimbursements are a powerful motivator for employees with easy facility access. However, memberships might not suit those with physical limitations, limited gym options, or diverse fitness preferences. Everyone has different fitness interests, including outdoor sports, home workouts, yoga, meditation, and mindfulness practices. 

Inspire total well-being and engagement with expanded fitness benefits. A comprehensive benefits strategy that meets diverse needs is vital to strategic benefit satisfaction. While gym reimbursements have their place, they can’t meet the modern workforce’s evolving needs. Reimbursing various fitness activities creates a healthier, happier, and more engaged workforce. 

Discover A Guide to Employee Well-Being in the Workplace

Wellness reimbursements: a winning combination

Holistic and accessible 

Energized by the belief that every employee’s wellness journey is unique, expanded reimbursement programs celebrate the multifaceted nature of fitness. Make total well-being accessible to all and cater to various interests, abilities, and fitness levels. From thrilling outdoor adventures to interactive virtual classes and dynamic sports activities, a holistic approach to fitness empowers your team, no matter where they work, live, or even what physical limitations they may experience.

Engaging and effective 

A dynamic reimbursement program is a gateway to employee well-being. Show your commitment to your people at every stage of their wellness journey. A comprehensive approach includes well-being education and robust rewards, nurturing healthy habits shifts, and total fitness. Vibrant group activities and exciting challenges fuel participation and foster a strong sense of community.

Empowering and inclusive 

Energize morale and deepen your employees’ sense of belonging. Engagement, satisfaction, and company loyalty soar when your people feel genuinely cared for and supported. By championing preventive health and stress reduction, expanded reimbursement programs boost well-being and reduce healthcare costs, absenteeism, and presenteeism.

Playing a beloved sport with friends and colleagues beyond the office supercharges total well-being.

Discover: How to Score Top Talent with an Inclusive Employee Benefits Strategy

6 ways to embrace a holistic view of wellness activities 

Empower choice and align activities with employees’ interests for a holistic wellness boost. Expanded reimbursements fuel individual wellness journeys and nurture a vibrant workplace culture. And encouraging sports and fitness activities supports work-life balance and prevents burnout. 

Fitness activities enhance physical and mental well-being, elevate job satisfaction, and forge strong colleague connections. The more activities you support, your reimbursement program is more inclusive and engaging. Here are a few ideas: 

1. Encourage team sports and recreational leagues

Joining team sports or recreational leagues (think soccer, hockey, volleyball, or softball) fuels physical fitness and can spark vibrant social connections. The healthy actions of those around us can be inspiring and energizing. Playing a beloved sport with friends and colleagues beyond the office supercharges total well-being. Take league hockey: it’s a full-body workout plus a social opportunity for lasting connections. Families, too, reap the benefits of a positive leisure and physical activity model. Engaging in these activities isn’t just fun; it’s your stress-busting, mind-reviving ticket to superior mental health.

2. Promote outdoor adventures

Invigorating outdoor pursuits such as hiking, camping, cross-country skiing, outdoor yoga, and stand-up paddleboarding reduce stress, induce relaxation, and enhance mental well-being. 

The therapeutic effects of natural environments reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. A study by the University of Michigan found that group nature walks improved participant interactions and boosted their sense of unity. Nature is vast and versatile. Your people can choose activities that align with their personal interests and fitness levels and can even choose to engage in a workplace community offering group participation. Every employee can reap the benefits, from seasoned adventurers to new outdoor enthusiasts.

3. Incentivize in-person and virtual classes

Whether your people are into yoga, pilates, strength training, HIIT, dance, or another invigorating fitness activity, there are many energizing options, both in-person and virtual. These activities deliver significant health benefits, and at-home options cater to all fitness levels, social preferences, and schedules. Remove barriers to participation and offer breaks during the workday to make fitness feel accessible and manageable. 

The convenience of virtual classes can increase participants’ commitment to exercise routines and healthier habits. Virtual options are ideal for remote and on-site employees, making it easy for people to seamlessly integrate physical activity into their daily routines. On-demand and cinema-grade fitness partners like Goomi, Livekick, Les Mills, and Rejuv provide access for people whether in-office, hybrid, or remote.

4. Support fundraising fitness activities

Marathons, charity walks, bike races, and tournaments can boost employee health and support a noble cause. Organizations can encourage active involvement in community fundraisers by sponsoring employee participation, reimbursing time spent with an LSA, and matching donations. 

The Köhler Effect affirms the idea that no one wants to be the weakest link in a group. When it comes to training for a charity event, this means people will work harder to achieve their fitness goals in a communal setting, enhancing consistency and motivation.

5. Champion wellness challenges 

Corporate wellness challenges and initiatives encourage employees to meet well-being goals that support their physical health. In Gartner’s 2021 EVP Benchmarking Survey, 87% of employees have access to holistic, whole-person well-being resources, and only 23% utilize them. Staying hydrated, getting adequate rest, and learning healthy strategies to manage stress can be tracked using devices and wellness apps. Paired with rewards, wellness challenges can supercharge employee engagement and incentivize total well-being.   

6. Enact people-first policies

Beyond gym reimbursements, relevant well-being resources are valued by your workforce. Leaders can motivate teams to have walking meetings, take regular computer breaks, and offer stress management webinars and supportive policies for team well-being. Incentivizing holistic self-care through customized reimbursements to cover holistic wellness offerings like nutrition, mental health, stress management, or life coaching fosters a content and healthy workforce.

Read On: Trauma-Informed Management, 5 Ways to Build an Empathetic and Resilient Workplace

Companies have traditionally offered gym reimbursements, but it’s time to level up. Free your Benefits and Finance teams from spreadsheets, expense reports, and emails, enabling robust participation rather than single-digit engagement.

Incentivize total fitness with next-level benefits

Fitness is an ongoing journey driven by mindful choices and lasting habits for a vibrant, fulfilling life. Regular fitness activities supercharge energy, focus, and stress resilience. Holistic well-being intertwines physical, mental, and emotional health, prioritizing balanced integration. 

Companies traditionally offer gym reimbursements, but it’s time to level up. Free your Benefits and Finance teams from spreadsheets, expense reports, and emails, enabling robust participation rather than single-digit engagement. It’s time to supercharge wellness!

Holistic wellness LSAs provide more inclusive and individualized options while simplifying administrative burdens. Espresa clients with more traditional and singularly focused physical wellness reimbursement programs see 51% usage, while clients with all-inclusive LSA see more than 84% usage.*

*Source: Espresa Benchmark and Trends Survey 2023

Ignite a passion for fitness and total well-being with a Lifestyle Spending Account, giving employees freedom and flexibility for life. With the Espresa platform, HR delivers what your employees want and need. When you empower your culture, everyone wins!

Ready to learn more about Espresa? Reach out to our team for a free demo!

Why is Employee Engagement Important and What Can You Do To Improve It?


Distribute On: