New benefit gives employers access to ‘Fitness in a Box’

Employers looking to add wellness offerings to employees are often overwhelmed by too many options. That’s why a new benefit aims to tackle this problem with a new all-in-one offering.

Espresa this month released a new benefits package dubbed Fitness in a Box, which combines the startup’s employee programs automation platform with a pre-qualified fitness and wellness provider network. In short? It aims to make it easier for employers to provide diversified wellness benefits to their employees.

Fitness in a Box is Espresa’s way of helping employers better manage their wellness and fitness benefits, says the company’s CEO Alex Shubat. There are a multitude of vendors that provide wellness benefits, and it can be difficult for employers to weed through all of the offerings to find one that fits their employee population, he says.

“It’s really a collection of point solutions. It’s very fragmented,” he says.

Fitness in a Box gives employers the ability to select vendors from a list of offerings — everything from yoga classes to massages. Once employers have selected the type of benefits they want to provide, employees access Fitness in a Box via a web portal or smartphone app, Shubat says.

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“They can see all the providers on the platform,” he says. “Everything gets scheduled through the system.”

Employees can select and schedule their fitness classes or wellness offering through the app. They also can pay for a class through the app, which may be fully or partially subsidized by the employer. Fitness in a Box typically costs employers $2 per eligible employee per month.

Employers also get real-time feedback on the types of programs workers are regularly using, Shubat says. They also can see how employees have rated and reviewed a specific program.

Fitness in a Box is part of Espresa’s larger automation platform, which gives employers the ability to manage employee benefit programs, anything from reimbursement to healthcare. The platform is currently being offered by employers including Pinterest, Workday, Pandora, Okta and Tesla.

Espresa is one of a number of companies offering solutions to employers that are looking to institute a wellness program. Three-quarters of employers (75%) in a Society for Human Resource Management employee benefits survey offer some kind of wellness benefit. In addition, of the organizations that increased benefits last year, 44% boosted their wellness benefits, SHRM reports. There also is a trend of employers offering more fitness and lifestyle benefits, which are particularly popular with younger employees.

Shubat says it can be challenging for already overburdened HR and benefits executives to manage a wellness program. A package like Fitness in a Box can help fill in some of the gaps, he says. It also can help to streamline a wellness program that may have too many components.

“If you already have a program and it’s a challenge for you to manage it, you can operate a higher level and we can supplement things that are missing,” he says.

It’s important for employees to know that their employer cares about their health, Shubat says. If any employee is stressed about something going on in the office, fitness may fall low on their priority list. Offering a wellness program can help workers feel that they are being taken care of, he adds.

“It’s one of the many things that a company can do right,” he says.

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