workouts throughout the day. Photo by Mark Rhodes
In an era not so long ago, the only time many companies thought about their employees’ health was when they took a sick day.
Today, with a heightened awareness about the importance of monitoring personal health and health-care costs, wellness has become a watchword for the companies on Virginia Business’ annual list of Best Places to Work in Virginia.
Everything from yoga to massages is on the menu as companies encourage their workers to stretch and bend on the yoga mat, or de-stress on the massage table.
But those are only a few of the ways wellness is being promoted to an increasingly health-conscious workforce.
This is the sixth year that Virginia Business has compiled the Best Places list in cooperation with the Best Companies Group, a Pennsylvania-based firm. Since then, 10 companies have been on the list all six years. Nine have made the list for five years, and 17 have been Best Places for four years. (see chart)
In late 2015, about 150 companies registered to become one of Virginia’s Best Places to Work in 2016. One hundred were selected in three categories: small (15-99 U.S. employees); midsize (100-249) and large (250 or more).
Best Companies Group benchmarked the companies on a list of core values: leadership and planning; corporate culture and communications; role satisfaction; work environment; relationships with supervisors; training and benefits; and pay and overall employee engagement.
Forbes recently reported the results of a 2014 Monster.com survey of 6, 800 people, which found that 42 percent of workers left a job because of stressful environments and another 35 percent considered changing jobs because of stress.
About 40 percent of respondents cited exercise as a strategy for reducing stress, and an increasing number of companies have incorporated exercise into their smorgasbord of benefits.
At mHelpDesk, a technology company in Fairfax, exercise is by the clock. At 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., one of the company’s employees leads an intense, 5-minute workout, welcoming other employees to join.
Vincent Wong, the company’s co-founder and CEO, says the exercise leaders are employees with other duties, but they have been personal trainers, or have had similar roles in past jobs.