Boeing shuts down popular gym benefit to curb costs
- Aerospace giant Boeing is shutting down a gym facility that was very popular with current and former employees, The Seattle Times reports. The closing is scheduled for Friday.
- The gym, known as the Oxbow Activity Center, serves more than 2,000 employees and retirees. The facility has 66,000 square feet of space that includes a weight room, running track, aerobics room, two full-size basketball courts, locker rooms and two dozen showers.
- Budget cuts were cited as the reason for the closing, says the Times. Boeing is shutting down the wellness facility as it lays off workers.
Budget cuts won out over an on-site employee wellness program, pointing to the continued struggles some companies are having in pinning down wellness ROI. The 66,000 square-foot facility has 2,200 paid-up employee members, according to the Times.
Increasingly, these more traditional (and expensive) benefits are falling out of favor in exchange for benefits like flexibility and paid leave that don't require as much spend to implement. Wellness has also seen a transformation in an attempt to manage cost.
Generally, wellness trends are skewing more personal. Some employers are turning to coaching programs to better engage employees. Mobile apps and IOT tech have enabled a number of new wellness initiatives, including wearables that can track employee health and activity.
However, some employers are turning to onsite clinics — another fairly expensive upfront investment — to improve engagement and bring future costs down. Such investments require a long view, which can sometimes be hard to defend without solid ROI stats. Boeing's decision illustrates how challenging such decisions can be for employers of all sizes. What is hard to predict — and even harder to measure — are the impacts cutting such benefits once they are in place will have on employee morale and engagement.
- The Seattle Times Boeing’s budget ax falls on popular gym for employees