BluePrint CPAs is offering a paid gym membership exclusively to its in-office employees as part of the firm’s strategy to encourage a healthy workplace and incentivize in-person work.

The Chatam, Ont.-based firm is also offering one paid hour per day for exercise, but employees can allot two hours per day to be out of the office to account for changing and cleaning up.

Kit Moore, president and consulting chief financial officer at BluePrint CPAs, says the decision to offer gym memberships to onsite employees was a “common-sense solution,” citing factors such as a need for in-office employee training, stressful hours and a sedentary work environment.

“We operate a hybrid model and what I saw through the [coronavirus] pandemic was with senior professionals, it was pretty easy to jump to remote work because they were [well-adapted]. But for certain employees we hope to retain for the long term and want to invest in, there’s an element of in-person [work] that we believe leads to better mentoring and understanding the nature of our services.”

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Before a company offers perks to a specific group of employees, it needs to look holistically at its entire population, says Hailey Fugman, transformation principal at Mercer Canada. “People tend to feel inequitable when things are offered for one and not the other, so it has to be communicated in terms of entire value proposition.”

But she recognizes many organizations are struggling to get employees back into the office and may require innovative solutions. Parking and flexible hours are among employees’ most requested perks. “People are finding, even though they had to commute before, they were remote for so long that now coming in is seen as an additional cost. [Employees also want] flexible work hours so they don’t need to come in during those busy commuting times and they’re able to go to appointments.”

At BluePrint CPAs, Moore says he chose to offer the gym membership because he recognizes employees are making a sacrifice by commuting to the office. “I don’t necessarily see it as a perk or an expense — I view it as a great investment for the business. It’s looking out for our team and showing them it’s not just about billable hours, [but that] health and wellness are important to us as well.”

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