Employee Benefits – Fitness is More than a Gym Membership!

It’s not unusual these days for employers to offer lifestyle benefits that encourage work-life balance and healthy living. Consistently, the companies we find on lists like Glassdoor’s “Best Places to Work in Canada” and Forbes’ “Canada’s Best Employers” are providing these types of benefits. And one of the most popular benefits is a free or discounted gym membership. 

Don’t get us wrong; gym memberships are a great place to start. But what’s even better is giving your employees the flexibility of a program that will reimburse other types of fitness-related expenses as well. Here’s why:

Thinking of offering a gym membership? You can do better than that!

Offering a discounted or even a free gym membership as part of your employee benefits plan sounds like a great idea, right? Well, sort of. 

You’re on the right track, but we can tell you from experience—it gets complicated more quickly than you’d imagine. Let us paint you a picture. You make the announcement, you hear a few cheers from your coworkers, you’re feeling pretty good…and then the questions start rolling in.

“I already have a gym in my condo/home, so this benefit doesn’t help me. Can I get a credit of some sort?”

“I already have a membership at a single-location gym right across the street from me. Will you reimburse me for this membership instead of the company-selected gym chain?”

“I don’t like gym workouts, I do yoga and play in some sports leagues. Are you going to support people who are physically active in other ways?”

The unfortunate truth is, it can be hard to create and administer a program that suits everyone! That’s why a Fitness Allowance is the way to go. Don’t sweat it! 

What should I include in a Fitness Allowance?

The short answer? Basically anything you want! 

The vast majority of Honeybee’s clients choose to include gym memberships and fitness classes among the fitness expenses that they’re happy to reimburse. But for many others, that’s just the beginning!

Here at Honeybee we have a variety of different predefined subcategories that fall under the umbrella of “Fitness” for clients to choose from. Some additional types of expenses that Honeybee customers provide funding for include the following:

Gym Memberships: Offer to reimburse employees for a portion of their standard gym membership fees.

Personal Training: For those employees that like a little bit of extra attention in their workouts, help them manage the expense so they can take their workouts to the next level.

Fitness Classes: Pilates, yoga, kickboxing, and more! Help your employees pay for whatever kinds of classes their hearts desire.

Gym Equipment: Maybe your employees want to buy kettlebells for their home workouts or a yoga mat to take to their classes.

Sporting Goods: From skis to squash rackets, soccer balls to softball bats, give your employees some extra pocket money to help them get the gear they need.

Bicycles or Personal Non-Motorized Transportation: Support a fitter, healthier commute by letting employees use their funds towards purchasing rollerblades or a new bike!

Sports Leagues, Lessons, Programs: Does anyone on your team play basketball or beach volleyball? Or are they looking to take their tennis game to the next level with lessons? Help them out with the associated fees.

Athletic Shoes & Clothing: Your employees need the appropriate attire for when they’re working up a sweat, and good running shoes and yoga pants can add up! 

Bottom Line: What your fitness program looks like is entirely up to you! If you do want to set up some restrictions, we recommend communicating these clearly to your employees upfront so as to avoid any confusion or misunderstandings.

How to start offering employee fitness benefits

You can create your own program and provide reimbursement through your payroll. Or, you can use Honeybee Allowance Accounts to automate the entire process, so that administration is a breeze. 

It’s easy⁠—and here at Honeybee we’ve made it even easier! 

Step 1. Set your budget. Decide how much you’d like to give employees to spend on fitness-related expenses.

Step 2. Select your categories. Identify which kinds of fitness expenses you’ll be reimbursing. Will you allow employees to submit expenses for athletic shoes & clothing for example, or would you prefer to stick to fitness classes, sports leagues and gym memberships?

Step 3. Launch your program. Communicate the new fitness benefits to your employees and let them know how they can claim these expenses. 

Step 4. Ongoing: administer your program: Will employees be emailing you their receipts so you can review, approve, and pass them along to payroll? Be sure you have a plan in place for managing and tracking this. And don’t forget that this is a taxable benefit, so it will need to appear on your employees’ T4s come tax season!

Does the ongoing administration sound like a hassle and a hindrance to offering a fitness allowance to your employees? If so, we don’t blame you, because we agree. Honeybee Allowance Accounts takes this out of the equation, saving you time and hassle by automating the entire process of reimbursing and tracking your employees submitted fitness expenses.

If you plan to offer a fitness allowance of $50 or more per month, we’ve got great news! Honeybee Allowance Accounts are free to companies with more than ten employees. 

Need more convincing? 

Honeybee offers a myriad of pre-identified fitness categories, plus the ease of administration and user-friendly experience that comes with submitting claims through the Honeybee app. 

If that’s not enough to get you excited, companies with a Honeybee fitness allowance have access to exclusive fitness-related deals. These Honeybee Offers, available through our app, include discounts on athletic shoes and even ClassPass memberships that allow employees to try different types of fitness classes and studios near them. Plenty of reasons to get started with Honeybee Allowance Accounts!

Learn more about Honeybee Benefits today