Fun and games at work lead to higher productivity at Next Jump
by ktagilbert on January 14, 2013 at 02:00 PM EDT

Marlo pilates photo

In New York City, Next Jump employees run around a conference room table. They transition to the ground, and start doing sit-ups and then push-ups. They pant and sweat, but their energy levels raise and their meetings are more productive. This is where CEO of Next Jump, Charlie Kim, originated the idea of incorporating fitness into the workplace.

Soon, Kim would bring in a personal trainer to the conference room and then gym equipment. For Next Jump, a company that works on corporate perk and reward programs for companies such as Hilton Hotels, Dell, and Border, this was only the start though.

In 2007 Kim’s company began to build a 24/7 gym for all of their employees and brought in more personal trainers, healthy foods, and group classes. They made fitness and nutrition a priority for the sake of productivity.

This was step one. Step two was to get every one to use of all these services.

Marissa Beck, Director of Wellness at Next Jump, explained that there was a 5% participation rate among their 200 employees. The gym was free and always open but few used it. The solution was “game-ification.”

Fitness Portal Snapshot-1

They turned working out into a game. They made five teams in their New York office and created a “game-ificiation fitness portal” to track how often the teams hit the gym. If all the team members went at least twice a week they won and this is announced at the company meeting every week.

“It is more of a motivator to have your name not called,” said Beck. The lack of recognition raises the stakes. “That way they are more motivated to win the next time around,” she said.

Winning also comes with a tangible prize; thirty WOW points that act like reward points on a credit card totaling $30.

This helped gym participation go from 5% to 85% and their employees’ became more fit and productive as Beck explained.

Post P3 Workoutt

Now, four years later, Next Jump is getting noticed for their fun and games in the workplace. With a studio gym consisting of a rock wall, state of the art exercise machines, group classes with healthy lunches served afterward, golf, Wii Fitness, and more, they are catching the eye of the New York Times, various online blogs, and national magazines. “We’re not just bragging,” said Beck, “we want to get the word out to other employers.”

“This your health. What is more important than your health?” asked Beck. She went on to explain that other companies need to consider what health is worth and go from there.

Beck believes other companies will catch on soon – within the next two-three years. If this small, 200-person company can do it, so can others she explained.

Samantha Boltax, the Next Jump Corporate Communication Director, explained that fitness and nutrition are becoming cool; another reason other companies may be following suit with Next Jump.

“People want to become healthy,” said Boltax, “and in our office drinking [for example] Mt. Dew is not cool and it is becoming more and more popular to eat breakfast.” An employee in their New York office even gave up diet coke, and their company began receiving letters from family members of their employees thanking them for making their loved ones healthier.

“We want companies to become healthier,” said Boltax, and she believes that they will.

Next Jump has a mission to ‘change the world,’ in terms of how companies are run, and their game-ification of fitness is one of their leading ways of making this happen.

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