At LRS, fitness is a benefit in more ways than one

Ginny Lee
Pam Benad at the LRS lap pool. Photo by Ginny Lee

By Colin Patrick Brady

A mutual benefit arises when a company offers its employees access to affordable health care in the form of insurance. Preventative measures and medical intervention can mean fewer lost work days and greater productivity from a workforce. Lately local businesses have taken to fostering the well-being of their workers a step further by offering fitness perks directly to workers. This may mean access to onsite equipment or providing membership to an outside athletic facilities.

Levi, Ray and Shoup, a Springfield-based provider of innovative information technology solutions, was an early adopter of promoting their employees’ physical health, having offered access for more than 25 years now, since 1989.

According to Pamela Benad, vice president of administration for LRS, “We’ve offered a health club to our employees since we opened our headquarters building in 1989. The health club has a lap pool, racquetball courts, running track, treadmills and weight training equipment and was part of the building’s design.”

The facility at LRS is not staffed by any personal trainers. “Employees are welcome to bring in trainers to assist them in workouts. In addition, we often have professionals teaching such classes as yoga and swimming,” said Benad.

In terms of updating or expanding the facility, Benad says they constantly evaluate the equipment and services offered by the health club, aided by an all-volunteer health club committee. “In recent months we have upgraded our treadmills, free weights and Nautilus equipment.”

When asked of the primary impetus for adding such a facility to their firm’s premises, Benad did not mince words. “We like to say that we work hard and we play hard. Our president and CEO, Dick Levi, is an avid racquetball player who recognized that an onsite health club facility would encourage more employees to exercise on a regular basis, and regular exercise could make them happier and more productive.”

Prospective LRS employees are made aware of the health club up front. “We include the health club facility in our overview of benefits. In addition, when we interview applicants for employment, we give them a tour of our campus which includes a tour of the health club,” Benad explained. “We have never made use of the health club a mandatory condition of employment, so it’s always interesting to see how many people make use of it. Our health club gets plenty of use during the early morning, before business hours, lunchtime hours, and late afternoons after work.” Of the overall usage of the club over the past 25 years, Pamela Benad concludes, “It has definitely been a case of ‘if you build it, they will come.’”

Colin Patrick Brady is a freelance writer from Decatur.

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