It’s Not A Benefit If You Don’t Use It

Mario and Luigi at Dragon*Con 2011

During the Dragon*Con parade held in Atlanta over the Labor Day weekend, my son saw the man pictured on the left and said “Time has not been good to Mario”. Then later in the parade we spotted a lean and healthy looking Luigi. We know that the two of them have worked for Nintendo for at least 25 years, so what’s the cause of the difference?

This summer I reached my 32nd anniversary with my employer, and I have seen many employees through much of their career. Some, like Luigi, never lose their energy level, maintain a level of physical fitness that is above-average for their age, and intend to leave in that condition. Others I have known have packed on considerable weight over the years and I have seen many of those spend their last year or two before retirement just showing up. They look forward to retiring because they are just too tired to keep up with the pace of work.

And here’s the thing about it that is somewhat sad. We have a great wellness benefit available. Every three years we have the opportunity for a complete physical assessment. At our US corporate locations, we have excellent health centers with the opportunity to participate in scheduled exercise sessions, swim, or use the weight/exercise equipment provided. When recruiting, I often mention this to candidates as it can be a substantial benefit when you consider the cost of a gym membership and the availability of on-site medical personnel.

There are benefits in many packages that not all employees use. Some don’t need optical, others may never use maternity/paternity benefits, and so they have no real value to those people. But I don’t know of anyone who could not use a wellness benefit, and more importantly, a wellness priority. Even if your employer is not as generous with this benefit as mine is, you have many options to improve your health. You know what they are. Take the stairs. Park farther from the door. Eat your fruits and vegetables and skip dessert. (Well, not every day). Is wellness in your priority list? Are you taking advantage of the benefit available to you?

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