Fit Companies: Spotlight on Reebok
The Canton-based company is taking fitness culture to a whole new level.
In a fit city like Boston, it’s no surprise that businesses offer wellness programs that include far more than a discounted gym membership. In this series, we’ll profile Boston-area companies that go above and beyond to keep employees healthy.
Location: Canton, MA
Number of employees: 1,050
How Reebok stays well: On-site facilities that rival any gym and a thriving fitness culture.
It’s 3 p.m., and the afternoon slump is hitting hard. If you worked in most offices, you’d probably pour yourself yet another cup of coffee and try to push through. If you worked at Reebok, you could just pop downstairs for a bootcamp class.
This type of activity is the norm at Reebok. The company’s Canton headquarters boasts a CrossFit box, a full gym, athletic fields, group fitness studios, and a healthy cafeteria. The best part? Employees are not only allowed to use these facilities throughout the day—they’re encouraged.
Bill Holmes, Reebok’s head of human resources, says those opportunities are all part of the company’s fitness culture. “We don’t enforce it in any way, shape, or form,” he says of the program, which a “vast majority” of employees participate in. “I think it becomes a new way of working, a new way of operating, and a new way of being.”
Holmes says every formal meeting at Reebok has a fitness activity incorporated in some way, and company-wide athletic events take place each month. But more important is the day-to-day emphasis on fitness. “Whether you want to do CrossFit, whether you want to do spin, whether you want to do a bootcamp, whether you want to lift weights, whether you want to run, we strongly encourage people to exercise and to utilize our facilities in a way that they do whatever turns them on,” he says.
Instead of detracting from employee productivity, Holmes says the constant ability to work out actually benefits both workers and the company. “Exercise, wellness, fitness, nutrition is as good, if not better, for your mind as it is for your body,” he says. “As a company, we want people to think creatively, innovatively, energetically, and we feel that fitness creates an environment not only of wellness and health, but also an environment where people are sharp, people are creative, and people are innovative.” (It also doesn’t hurt, he says, that the Canton facility is open 24 hours a day, so employees can balance their workouts and work schedule however they see fit.)
And while it comes as no surprise that a fitness brand has a thriving company wellness program, Holmes says other companies can achieve similar results. “The first thing any company can do is change the quality of food in their cafeteria,” Holmes suggests. “Whether you’re a fitness company or a widget manufacturer, creating an environment in your cafeteria that allows employees to make more healthy choices is one of the single greatest steps [you can take].”
In addition, Holmes says the key to Reebok’s—or any business’s—success in company wellness is offering a diverse curriculum than anyone can enjoy. “Our program equally engages men and women, it equally engages young people and old people, it engages people that are entry-level and executives,” he says. “Diversity of programming, I think, is a key component. Managerial and leadership support in modeling that behavior is another key component.”
Reebok may have a sizable head start in the company wellness arena, but Holmes says the importance of health is widespread. “Reebok may be an early adopter,” he says, “but company wellness isn’t going anywhere.”