PepsiCo Satisfies its Thirst for Wellness in Workplace

by Rob Keys  on Friday, Dec. 7, 2012 8:34 am  

“The requirements, just to get to gold, are tough,” Hoener said.

At the Rogers office, which houses about 100 PepsiCo employees, though, Hoener said workplace wellness already was on the radar.

“There was already a natural demand for it, so we’re just trying to solve the demand,” he said. “We try and keep the program fun, and rotate it through the year so that more people can get involved.”

That might mean yoga classes or fitness boot camps are offered at various times. PepsiCo also has offered cholesterol challenges, during which participants are screened, and then eat oatmeal for breakfast every day for 30 days.

About 50 people took part in the most recent cholesterol challenge, Hoener said, resulting in a 6 percent reduction in the group’s overall cholesterol level. Those kinds of programs result in a more meaningful partnership than if employees simply donate time or money to a charity.

“It’s not just about us giving back to the [American] Heart Association, but the heart association also helps us,” Hoener said. “The Fit-Friendly program gives us the parameters by which we can evaluate ourselves.

“If we say we want to provide all of these benefits for our employees, are we really doing that? It’s a way to hold ourselves accountable and measure how we’re doing from an objective point of view.

“There’s a special camaraderie that comes with it, too.”

That much is evidenced by the group of PepsiCo employees who meet for regular pickup basketball games before going to the office, Hoener added. The camaraderie also results in increased participation in events like the AHA’s annual Heart Walk.

The increased productivity and boosted morale that stem from all of PepsiCo’s efforts might be harder to measure than an employee’s cholesterol level, but Hoener said the benefits can’t be denied.

“Anyone on my team, if they want to go work out during lunch, go work out during lunch. … It’s not like you have to be at your desk, sedentary, and go do that on your own time,” he said.

“If you’re doing your job well and getting your work done, and want to go work out over lunch, I guarantee you you’re probably going to be more productive that afternoon than if you go eat a huge lunch and you’re in a food coma by 3 o’clock.”



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