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Need for employee fitness programs recognized

<p>Some employers are embracing the idea that a fit worker is a happy one that may, in the long run, take fewer sick days.</p>


Some employers are embracing the idea that a fit worker is a happy one that may, in the long run, take fewer sick days.


In fact, the Public Health Agency of Canada’s website (www.phac-aspc.gc.ca) lists several employers that have seen improvements once employees got active.


• Canada Life in Toronto showed a return on investment of $3.40 on each corporate dollar invested, with productivity gains, decreased medical claims and reduced turnover.


• Municipal employees in Toronto missed 3.35 fewer days in the first six months of their “Metro Fit” fitness programs than employees not enrolled in the program.


• BC Hydro employees enrolled in a work-sponsored fitness program had a turnover rate of 3.5 per cent compared with the company average of 10.3 per cent.


• Canadian Life Assurance Co. found that the turnover rate for fitness program participants was 32.4 per cent lower than the average for the company over a seven-year period.


• Toronto Life Assurance found employee turnover for those enrolled in the company’s fitness program was 1.5 per cent versus 15 per cent for non-participants.


Kathleen Dugas, project officer in the healthy living unit of the Public Health Agency of Canada, said savings can often be had with low cost initiatives, such as providing showers and bike racks to encourage workers to walk, bike, or jog to work.


Other initiatives Dugas said that are being used across the country include teleworking — where people are able to work from home, allowing them to take a walk around the block during any down time. Also, a more relaxed dress code means folks can pack their officewear in a knapsack, encouraging a more active way of getting to work other than driving a car, she said.


 
 
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