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Corporations should be worried about their employees becoming sedentary and unhealthy, and the solution in many cases has been to add a fitness center to the business.
But making effective use of a corporate fitness center doesn't just mean slapping together some ellipticals and barbells in your break room, your business needs the legal underpinning to make it a success. Done properly, Forbes reports that "fitness centers can become a profit center as well as a retention amenity."
Here are five tips for making your business' fitness center work out for you:
1. Include a Liability Waiver.
You don't want your business' newest employee amenity to become a liability, so you need to include a liability waiver in the membership agreements. In form, it shouldn't differ too much from the average waivers which are included in most gym contracts, but make sure that your waiver isn't overbroad. A court may end up not enforcing a waiver that removes liability for a fitness center's intentional or reckless acts, so it may be best to have a contract attorney review the language.
2. Use Public Space Carefully.
Unless your business has its own sprawling private campus, your fitness center may want to utilize some adjacent public spaces for outdoor training and activities (yoga, running, etc.). But be careful: While this space is public, that doesn't mean commercial use of the space is always free.
3. Consider Monthly Contracts.
Writing for Forbes, Joshua Love suggests against locking employees into annual contracts like the neighborhood gyms might. Instead, consider a renewing monthly commitment with a fair (but not ludicrously low) membership rate. Employees might actually be more motivated to use the gym if they're paying a good amount per month.
4. Think About Outsourcing.
You may decide to outsource the staff of your business' new fitness center to an independent contractor, but be careful about who you get into business with. Depending on your agreement with the agency that staffs your fitness center, you may still be on the hook for any trouble the trainers potentially cause.
5. Make the Gym Optional.
You don't have to have a Chief Happiness Officer to know that a fitness center can only improve morale if employees choose to use it.
A tyrannical "fun" fitness-oriented boss is pretty unlikely to inspire real innovation, so make your fitness center a safe space for both you and your employees.
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