Feb 18th 2011
Office fitness doesn't have to start big. It can start with one person having an idea, and an office that is willing and interested.
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Mandi Clossey, CPA and health care manager at Indianapolis, IN-based Somerset CPAs PC, was interested in improving her own health and got involved with a company called Beach Body, which produces and distributes a variety of home fitness videos and programs that train people to be online health and fitness coaches. Clossey began to mentor people, helping them to find the fitness program that would work for them to get them healthy, fit, and active. Then she brought it to the office.
Somerset CPAs was interested in supporting what Clossey was offering. In September the firm held its first Sunday Fit Club. Using the main level conference room, staff and members of the community were invited to participate. The video is set up on a large screen projector in the room and everyone does the workout at their own level. Different workout videos are used on different days to vary the workout. The Fit Club has provided Somerset with an opportunity to welcome the community into the firm office and to network.
To make Fit Club more accessible to the employees during busy season, the firm is planning to offer the workout on Saturday afternoons when employees already are at the office.
Meeting with Clossey's clients takes her traveling throughout the country. She takes some of the CDs with her and can choose a workout based on her time and the space she has in her hotel room. Her coworkers have found this to be a good solution for their traveling, as well.
Somerset CPAs was welcoming to Clossey's ideas because they were looking for ways to improve the health of its workforce. The firm already offered a $250 wellness reimbursement plan for such expenditures as health club memberships, smoking cessation programs, and weight loss programs, and it was considering ways in which to expand employee wellness programs.
“During busy season we do have a healthy snack,” said Clossey. “We have a fruit basket always available during busy season. Crackers and peanut butter are staples during busy season. A bowl is out with Nutrigrain bars, granola bars, and 100-calorie packs. We used to do snacks but nothing healthy. Now we mostly do healthy snacks, always available January through April.”
Busy season means long hours and weekday dinners at the office. Dinners are looking healthier now, too, with a vegetable and salad option always available. Little things add up and the office cafeteria now includes Crystal Light packets and sugar-free hot cocoa.
Staff meetings are held every other Friday morning. While the food used to be the office standard of coffee and doughnuts, the firm has started offering yogurt, fruit, and granola, too. Those choices might not take the place of doughnuts for everyone all the time, but the healthier options are popular and appreciated, Clossey said.
This time of year, it can be hard for CPAs to get out from behind their desks and move around. Somerset brought a workout on site, using the space and equipment that were already available, and turned the situation into a fitness opportunity for its employees and the community.