Free Membership Encourages Healthy Workplace

The corporate fitness center at Capital One Melville offers programs and amenities worthy of an upscale facility - but at no charge to its members.

Capital One believes that employees who live active lives are healthier, happier and more productive at work and in their personal lives, according to Fitness Director Nicholas Ullman. To encourage regular physical activity, Capital One provides onsite fitness centers, including the one at its Melville, N.Y., office. This is no ordinary corporate fitness center, however, since all memberships are free to company employees. Says Ullman, "Our goal is to increase usage of the facility so that employees can live healthier lives. This goal is easier met by waiving any nominal fee that may affect usage."

Before opening the facility in 2005, the bank surveyed all potential members (employees) to find out what they wanted in a fitness center. "We asked about class types, operating hours and types of exercise equipment they would prefer. Based on these answers, we developed the initial class schedule, which is continually adapted according to the interests and needs of members," says Ullman. And, to stay current, facility management continues to survey members.

The facility itself features a free weight/strength area, a group fitness studio and a cardio area with televisions. The 450-square-foot group exercise studio features a unique "garage door." Explains Ullman, "The doors can be pulled down during classes to provide privacy to the group. While classes are not in session, the doors are opened to provide a more spacious feel to the facility."

Capital One Bank Corporate Fitness

Melville, N.Y.

631 577-5909

Date fitness facility opened: October 2005

Fitness Facility size: 5,000 square feet

Number of members: 325 members; on average, 85 members use the facility each day

Group exercise classes: 10 classes per week at lunch and after work, including yoga, Pilates, Box 'n' Tone, Spinning, FitBall, Urban Rebounding and Lunch Crunch (30-minute lunch time class)

To have your fitness center featured, send an email describing your facility to [email protected].

In addition to group exercise, the Capital One Melville facility offers personal training "at a significantly reduced cost in order to encourage associates to use the service," says Ullman. Fitness assessments, individualized exercise programs, incentive programs and recreational sporting events are also offered. And, since time is so important to members, Weight Watchers meetings are held in the group fitness studio for people who may otherwise not have time to go to an off-site meeting.

Some people may think that a facility that offers free memberships wouldn't offer fancy amenities. Not so at Capital One. The fitness center offers towel service, including workout and shower towels, and toiletries like shampoo, conditioner and body wash.

Since the free membership was established specifically to encourage participation in fitness, getting the word out to Capital One employees is important. Says Ullman, "Capital One Bank continuously promotes the benefits of joining the fitness center to our associates." The facility is marketed through internal company email, the One Place internal website, and by distributing handouts and flyers. Class schedules, informational flyers and personal training information are distributed to all new hires. In addition, Capital One Bank hosts a blood drive every December in the fitness center to benefit the local Long Island Blood Center. "This event helps increase the blood supply in our community, plus it raises awareness of our facility," Ullman says.

The fitness center has been a great success since it opened, and a growing number of associates continues to take advantage of the services it provides. This, in no small way, reflects the commitment that Capital One has shown to the wellness of its employees. "We know our engaged associates are key contributors to our success as a company," says Ullman. "We strongly believe that the health and the productivity of our associates are linked, and we do all we can to enhance our workplace to achieve a healthy work/life balance."
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