Enjoying Massage in the Workplace
Every day, more companies are providing the benefit of massage therapy for their employees. An article from Crain's Chicago Business states that businesses with as few at 14 staff members, as well as large corporations like Motorola and Amoco, are now hiring massage therapists to perform massage in the workplace. The article states that on-site massage is cheaper than vacation and child care benefits, and more than a low-cost office perk. It goes on to say that on-site massage reduces work-related stress, improves alertness, performance and productivity, and even keeps people feeling well enough to stay at work when they would rather go home**. Research is continuing to prove the payoff of a good massage therapy program. Although massage can be incorporated into any workplace, it is commonly seen in the following:
* Factories * Schools * Banks
* Accounting Firms/ Departments * Hospices * Hospitals
* Dentist Offices * Nursing Homes * Health Fairs * Veterinarian Clinics
* Business Offices
Paying for the Privilege
This can vary based on how the program is set up. The program is set up differently for each company (length of massage, frequency, etc) based on what the company's goals. So, who pays for this awesome benefit? Usually, payment is handled in one of the following three ways:
1. The company pays: This scenario, which is the most common, allows employees to forget about whether or not they can afford the massage, and it makes the boss look great. More employees typically utilize the massage in this circumstance, increasing the payoff.
2. Co-Payment: In this scenario, the company pays some and the employee pays some. Companies choose this to offset the direct cost of the massage, and decrease possible abuse by employees.
3 . Employee pays: Many employees are happy that their employer simply allows a massage therapist to come and so they are willing to pay for it themselves.
American Institute of Stress states that an estimated 1 million workers are absent every day due to stress. Repetitive musculoskeletal injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome have become the nation's leading workplace health cost and account for almost a third of all workers' compensation awards. Massage has been shown to help in reducing these kinds of injuries, leading to reduced absenteeism, fewer workers' compensation claims, and less cost to employers. A 1992 article in the Financial Times trumpets the benefits that companies can reap by offering massage therapy to employees. The article states a company in Ontario, Canada, reported a 25% decrease in time off for work-related injuries and a $200,000 decrease in compensation claims after it implemented a massage therapy program.
Here is a list of benefits:
1. Reduce repetitive use injuries (such as carpal tunnel syndrome, strains, low back pain, etc)
2. Reduce BWC claims and costly medical bills associated with claims
3. Reduce BWC rates by reducing claims
4. Reduce time off due to pain
5. Increase productivity/ morale
6. Reduce headache
7. Great benefit when the workload is great and cannot be lessoned, to encourage maximum performance from the worker. Many factory workers have to work overtime, which increases risk of injury. Salaried office workers have to work until the job is finished, so when they are really busy this offers them a much needed breather.
** Crain's Chicago Business, February 1999, p. SR2