May 20th 2010
Rather than getting their employees to go to the gym, Williams, Horning & Co., LLC, in Alpharetta, Georgia, brought the gym to the office.
It wasn’t an intentional plan to create a gym. But, John Williams always had been interested in working out, and he and his wife and partner, Susan Williams, used to work out at the gym around the corner. A little more than five years ago he started bringing equipment to the basement area of their office space and it eventually evolved into the office gym.
The workout area is the equivalent of a glorified garage gym. It is larger and has a lot more equipment than the typical garage gym, though, with approximately 2,000 square feet of space. It is well-stocked, according to Susan Williams.
“We have a spin bike, an elliptical machine, a rowing machine, a recumbent bike, all kinds of free weights, three or four weight benches, stability balls, medicine balls, slide board, multi-function resistance machine, chin ups, pull ups. It’s pretty well equipped. We have music and mirrors and posters and a neon sign. It’s pretty nice,” she said, adding that they also have recently started a once-a-week yoga class and a nutrition class.
“Five years ago we started hiring a personal trainer to come in twice a week,” said Susan Williams. “A few years ago we made it available to everyone in the office. We covered the first session with the trainer and they can choose to pay for a second session. We have a lot of free weights and we do things out in the parking lot, run around the office park and the buildings, up and down the fire escape. It’s just limited by [the trainer’s] imagination.”
Even during the busy season they kept taking advantage of the gym’s availability.
“We kept it up during tax season,” she said. “Two days a week during lunch is when we take the classes. Since we can be pretty nasty after working out, we dress pretty casually on those days. None of the clients have complained. We do have a shower in the gym if someone really needed to get cleaned up.”
Other tenants in the building are only allowed to use the gym with the trainer, but Williams, Horning employees have a key to use the gym at their convenience.
At this point, they have not started any contests or measurements for fitness or weight loss progress. With only 10 employees and a varying range of ages and fitness, it is difficult to come up with a program that would allow everyone a chance to fairly compete. If the right idea came up, they would certainly consider it.
But the biggest strength of a competition is how it creates an incentive to follow a program. As far as incentives go, however, Williams, Horning already has that covered. As Susan Williams said, “There is a lot of pressure to participate when everyone else in the office is changing clothes and getting ready to go work out.”