There was something different about the hotel that I checked into on a recent visit to Atlanta, Georgia. From the lush green landscaping to the soothing use of water fountains, a feeling of calm pervaded the porte-cochère. I exited the rental car and was greeted by what must have been the smell of eucalyptus; therapeutic to say the least. A doorman offered me a glass of lemon water and I walked to the check-in desk, feeling relaxed and de-stressed after a hectic day of travel.
Hotels, like many other businesses are quickly realizing the invigorating effects of health and wellness on their patrons – and their staff. On the bathroom counter of my hotel room were plenty of essential oils and Epsom salts, perfect for muscle relaxation and for soothing my aching limbs. There was even a lavender spray bottle with a card that prompted me to spray my pillow for a more restful sleep.
Hotels are also realizing the shift in thinking when it comes to health and wellness. Wellth over wealth is the pervading mindset these days. Some innovative hotels are lending guests a choice of running shoes, shorts, shirts, capri pants, and jogging bras for women. Forging brilliant partnerships with leading apparel companies is an innovative way to build business and promote a healthy lifestyle. And how about the hotel chain that employs “run concierges” that lead interested patrons on runs throughout the city? This well-documented program is part of a broader initiative called “The Elements of Well Being,” which aims to capitalize on the movement.
When your core values espouse the tenets of well-being, these types of campaigns become a perfect reflection of an altruistic brand. Hotels aren’t the only types of businesses that are incorporating the health and wellness movement into their offerings. Consider YYZ – Canada’s busiest airport. At Pearson International Airport, a new 10,000 sq. ft. gym has been built so that travel fatigued passengers can reinvigorate themselves by using one of the many cardio stations or weight training areas. To woo more customers, the gym charges a nominal price for a 1-day pass that includes luggage storage, towel service, and toiletries. And they also offer the rental of gym shoes and attire at a reasonable price.
But Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, takes it to the next level. New sleeping pods have recently been added to the airport, allowing transiting passengers the option to catch a few hours of uninterrupted sleep in a cozy and high-tech pod, that’s been architecturally designed for relaxation and comfort. There are many conclusions to be drawn from these examples of health and wellness in the business world. First, as much as we’d like to believe that businesses are indeed altruistic, the fact is that they are all accountable to shareholders and stakeholders. Correlations between health and wealth have long been documented. It stands to reason that a healthy clientele is a wealthy clientele. And empirical evidence will also demonstrate that a healthy workforce equals less absenteeism, a more energetic staff, less turnover, and increased productivity over a less healthy workforce. Google is a
company that consistently ranks as one of the best companies in the world to work for, according to Fortune Magazine. At Google, they believe that providing an onsite gym, massage therapy, an onsite doctor, as well as a fitness trainer, will lead to a happier and more productive workforce. In fact, in their East Coast headquarters, there isn’t an office in the building that’s located less than 150ft. from food. To encourage healthy food choices, sodas are somewhat hidden behind translucent glass, while water and juice are immediately visible. The same theory applies to healthy snack choices that are put in clear glass jars, as opposed to less healthier options that are found in opaque jars with more conspicuous nutritional labels.
But these days, it’s not only white collar executives that are provided the perks of a gym membership or the advantage of massage therapy being added to their medical plans. There is a new trend developing called “blue collar wellness,” whereby companies are seeing the logic of promoting and encouraging the well-being of their “blue collar” staff. Volkswagen recently implemented a program aimed to nurture “industrial athletes,” with the idea that healthier and fitter employees will perform at a higher level of excellence. On the clock workouts are becoming the norm, and Volkswagen even has an onsite gym, in which workers’ families are encouraged to use.
Well placed promotional products and promotional apparel provide a terrific way to hasten the rate of adoption in company-driven health and wellness programs. Providing branded pedometers amongst staff and encouraging daily, weekly, and monthly contests for the most steps taken during the business day can be a great way to spark team-building within and across multiple departments. Branded apparel or name brand apparel prizes often provide the motivation to change behaviour and ultimately belief. Many companies are also realizing the team-building benefits of engaging their staff in corporate team activities such as baseball, volleyball, or run club, to name a few examples. The use of branded water bottles to promote hydration and well-being are not only a win-win for the staff and the company, but provide months of incremental advertising through the high visibility of a well-positioned branded message. When you add the benefits of
corporate team apparel that can be added to the mix, it’s a recipe for healthy, happy, and highly visible staff, who are more likely to have higher levels of employee satisfaction and productivity. Look around – the sheer number of companies adding health & wellness to their corporate culture is staggering. These progressive companies are realizing that one of the keys to building a stronger company lies in the well-being of its staff and its patrons. Health = wellth!
This article first appeared in WELLTH Magazine, a publication produced in partnership by Debco and alphabroder.