Bloomberg Businessweek documented a tongue-in-cheek war-of-words exchanged through e-mail between municipal workers in Charlotte, North Carolina. Co-workers threw barbs during a competition to see which department could log the most collective hours of exercise during six weeks. According to the story, the budget office vowed to walk during their lunch break if the human resource department took the lead.
The city of Charlotte implements medical self-insurance, making it crucial that employees take care of themselves in order to save money. Bloomberg gives examples of a handful of companies that have implemented online and technology-oriented wellness programs, such as Tokyo Electron and Coinstar. A study published in 2011 by Harvard Business Review indicated that six months of cardiac rehabilitation and exercise training for employees considered "high" health risks turned 57 percent of them into "low" risks. Every dollar spent on employee wellness programs in this study saved employers $6.
"That social aspect creates some level of accountability. You know that if you don't show up, people are going to notice," Brad Bell, a Cornell University associate professor of HR told Bloomberg in regards to wellness programs with a social networking element. Apparently a little bit of peer pressure can be a good thing when it comes to physical fitness.