Considering work is the second most common source of stress (after money), and that 42 percent of respondents in one survey reported a stressful work environment as the reason they jumped ship, it’s about time more offices promoted a healthy lifestyle, no? And we're not just talking about standard health benefits or a bowl of mealy apples in the conference room.
These 44 companies are redefining office culture and proving that working hard and finding balance aren’t mutually exclusive. From alternative health insurance, fully stocked kitchens, free mental health counseling, and domestic partner benefits to on-site fitness centers, unlimited vacation days, Ping-Pong tournaments, and regularhappy hours, these workplaces are truly committed to helping their employees stay healthy and happy.
Check out the full list below (and while you’re at it, peruse last year’s list, too). You might find yourself tempted to update that resume.
Note: The companies are split up by size but not listed in any ranking order.
Huge Companies (20,000+ Employees)
Photo: Kaiser Permanente Headquarters: Oakland, CA
As one of the nation’s largest healthcare companies—operating a health plan, hospitals, and medical practices—Kaiser Permanente is leading the way in promoting healthy options both in and out of the workplace. It’s easy to make healthier food choices with all company cafeterias complying with the Partnership for a Healthier America’s guidelines, vending machines filled with healthy options, and more than 50 company-supported farmer’s markets. The company also encourages its team of nearly 175,000 employees to use public transit to get to work with commuter spending accounts and bike-to-work reimbursements. Plus, to inspire all-day movement, they offer on-site gyms attached to many facilities as well as the Instant Recess campaign, which promotes 10-minute physical fitness breaks in the middle of the day.
Photo: General Electric General Electric Headquarters: Fairfield, CT
GE is known for creating innovative, game-changing products, and the company does the same with its approach to employees’ health (all 131,000 of them). General Electric’s Health Coach program offers all workers access to trained nurses who can answer questions on everything from claim issues to chronic illness. The company also offers NowClinic, a program that allows employees to video-chat with physicians 24/7 to obtain a quick diagnosis. And then there’s GE’s Expert Medical Opinion, which enables employees to get a free second opinion from a Cleveland Clinic Specialist at no cost. The company also takes a proactive approach to health, offering inexpensive gym memberships to employees, their spouses, adult children, and even company retirees.
Photo: EMC EMC Headquarters: Hopkinton, MA
When it comes to wellness, motivate people with the carrot, not the stick. That’s EMC’s smart approach. Case in point, the company’s Healthy Rewards Program where employees who complete certain activities, like signing up for a gym or getting a flu shot, have lower medical contributions. It’s win-win. Another core value at this digital company of 65,000 workers: Make healthy choices accessible and easy. That includes on-site gyms at several locations (including an indoor pool at HQ), health education classes, and color-coded choices in the cafeteria to encourage more plant-based eating. Bring on the broccoli!
Photo: Microsoft Microsoft Headquarters: Redmond, WA
Microsoft offers employees the perks that have become commonplace among tech giants: flexible work hours, free gym memberships, and lots of on-site services (dry cleaning, oil changes, and an organic spa). The company really excels, however, in encouraging its 61,756 employees to work hard at the office and also in their communities. Microsoft matches employee donations to charities up to $15,000, but you don’t have to cough up cash to have an impact: The software biz also donates $17 for every hour an employee volunteers.
Photo: Mayo Clinic Mayo Clinic Headquarters: Rochester, MN
At Mayo Clinic, health is a family affair. And Mayo sets itself apart by widening the definition of family for its 61,100 employees: Domestic partners are included in health care coverage, adoption fees are reimbursed, child care and elder care resources are available, and parental leave includes both partners. The company also understands that employees who are busy caring for families aren’t always able to care for themselves, which is why it has on-site fitness centers for fitting in midday workouts and several health resources available by phone. The company’s “Tobacco Quitline” gives individual counseling over the phone, and the “Ask Mayo Clinic” hotline is a 24/7 medical resource staffed by nurses ready to assess and give advice on health matters.
Many of the perks of working at Google—and specifically the company’s headquarters, the Googleplex—are well known: unlimited free meals, four tricked-out gyms, plenty of complimentary services (laundry, car wash, dry cleaning, bike repair, haircuts, massages), and an indoor slide (what?!). The search and Internet giant has put a major focus on employee health in recent years, adding more than a thousand community bikes scattered around the Googleplex, on-site physicians and nurses who are always available, and a company garden for employees to toil in. They’ve also made it easier to make healthier food decisions in the dozens of cafeterias and small cafes with a simple color-coded label (green for healthy, red for unhealthy) on all offerings. Google has even hacked its 48,584 employees’ eating habits—smaller plates encourage portion control, and putting the salad bar at the entrance and the dessert spread in the far corner makes reaching for the greens a no-brainer.
Photo: General Mills
The company known for making some of your favorite breakfast cereals has developed a reputation for its focus on employee health. First there’s the on-site health clinic at the company’s headquarters where doctors and nurses perform personal risk assessments to determine current medical problems and also encourage healthy lifestyle changes. Then there’s Fitness Fridays where employees bond over games like dodgeball. And the Fortune 500 company takes a holistic approach to health, evidenced by the recently added meditation rooms in every building on the company’s Minneapolis campus as well as various work options, including Flexible User Shared Environments where the 43,000 employees can float around to different desks to encourage creativity, open communication, and less stress.
Photo: Cleveland Clinic
Teamwork makes dream work. That’s true when it comes to office projects, and it’s also true when it comes to health and fitness goals. Cleveland Clinic’s mission: to make the company your running buddy, so to speak. To that end, its 39,000-plus employees can participate in the “Healthy Choice” program to have their health assessed, and receive an individualized wellness plan with goals and strategies. If that goal is to drop a couple lbs, free membership to Weight Watchers and Curves can help workers move the scale’s needle. So can the company’s running and walking groups, and daily yoga. That sense of teamwork creates a ripple effect that extends back to the community, too. During periodic volunteer days, employees work with Rebuilding Together, a leading nonprofit that provides home repairs and improvements to low-income homeowners.
Since many of this consulting firm’s 36,590 employees spend their days traveling to clients, Accenture developed a special program that gives the athletic-minded traveler tips for how to continue making healthy decisions on the road. The company also developed an online program specifically designed to help employees who struggle to find time to exercise and think about nutrition. And Accenture offers a robust employee assistance program to deal with stress, substance abuse, depression, and anxiety. The cherry on top: Employees have access to a concierge service that can help them find personal trainers, pet sitters, or someone to mow their lawn.
Big Companies (5,000-19,999 Employees)
At this low-cost airline, the sky is really the limit when it comes to creating a happy, healthy workforce of 14,347. On top of robust medical coverage, each crew member (JetBlue speak for employees) is given $400 to put toward the cost of deductibles, coinsurance, and prescriptions, and coverage includes enhanced career management for specific health topics from pregnancy to cancer. Crew members can also contact LifeSolutions for unlimited free phone counseling when an issue arises in their personal or professional life. Lastly, the airline’s headquarters was designed to give employees plenty of space to relax, whether it’s in one of the galleys (fully stocked kitchens), parks (lounges), or the state-of-the-art fitness center.
Salad bars in the cafeteria are nice, but how many companies host farmers markets where employees can purchase local, organic produce? It’s one way biotech giant Genentech goes above and beyond to bring its 13,000 employees easy access to top-tier health amenities. Other ways include on-site physical therapy, guided meditation, and fitness centers. Even when jet-setting away from the office, employees can keep wellness options close at hand with “business travel health kits.” And that travel doesn’t come at the expense of vacation time. After six years, employees are eligible for paid six-week sabbaticals. We consider it an invitation to reenact favorite portions of Eat, Pray, Love.
Photo: FC Photography
The benefits at Epic almost seem like an escalating dare. Not only does the company have its own cafeteria, it also has its own chef and its own bakery that makes fresh hearth-baked breads (used in their build-your-own-sandwich bar). And not only do the 7,400 employees get paid sabbaticals every five years, but if you spend it abroad exploring a new country, Epic will cover most of the hotel and flight expenses for you and your companion. That’s some next-level R&R. And yes, when it comes to employee bonding there’s the usual company picnic, but there’s also “Epic Odyssey” trips where workers can travel together and explore new cultures. That team spirit translates to various sporting, gaming, and philanthropic groups. The company’s biking group took second place in a statewide race, which leads us to think they’re ready to do an Epic Odyssey of the Tour de France route next.
Headquarters: Kansas City, MO
This card company has put its stamp on helping its 6,600 employees lead healthier lives. Hallmark offers generous health coverage and up to six months of maternity or paternity leave. The company has also recently focused on helping employees make healthier food choices, placing nutritional information next to all options available in the cafeteria, and employees can participate in monthly lunch and learns on wellness topics. Best of all: Workers can purchase and bring home healthy prepared meals as part of the company’s Let’s Do Dinner program. The focus on health isn’t contained to physical gains, though. Hallmark also hosts a number of support groups for those raising a child with disabilities, grieving a loss, caring for elders, missing a loved one in the military, and more.
Headquarters: Cary, NC
SAS is taking the locavore concept and applying it to all aspects of wellness, essentially making the company’s HQ a hub for all things health-related. The free on-site health care center provides a long roster of services including physical exams, nutritional consults, physical therapy, psychological consults, flu shots, and blood work. In terms of nutrition, four cafeterias serve offerings that include healthy, organic, and plant-based options, while weekly fresh fruit deliveries supplement free break-room snacks. The gym is completely gratis to its 5,308 employees and their families, plus workers can take advantage of massages, haircuts, shoe/watch repair, tax preparation, and a retail-level pharmacy all without leaving company grounds. If checking off the to-do list during lunch break doesn’t relieve errand anxiety, the company-provided stress reduction classes can help.
Medium Companies (500-4,999 Employees)
Photo: Hasbro, Inc.
As you’d expect from the company that brought you Mr. Potato Head, Hasbro keeps families front and center in their company culture and benefits. There’s paid leave for both parents, adoption leave, even foster care assistance. And if you’re struggling to conceive, the company generously covers infertility treatments (among many other procedures such as cochlear implants, obesity surgery, and acupuncture). But support creating that family doesn’t mean much if you can’t spend time with your loved ones, and Hasbro has that covered, too. In 2014 the company announced a new flexible hours program, and in addition to vacation time, its 3,500 employees receive an extra week during holidays and year-round half-day Fridays.
Photo: Twitter Twitter
Headquarters: San Francisco, CA
Tech companies sometimes get a bad rap for having whimsical perks without any concrete benefits. (Everyone gets a scooter! But don’t bother asking about health insurance.) But Twitter offers complete medical and dental coverage and a generous dose of bonuses as well: free catered lunch and breakfast at HQ, gym reimbursements, and yoga and Pilates classes on-site. Post-workout, the company’s laundry service can take care of your stinky gym clothes. Plus, unlimited vacation days means there’s plenty of time for employees (3,300 of them worldwide) to recharge their batteries. Although with perks like these, we’d do a staycation on company grounds.
Photo: Zappos Zappos
Headquarters: Henderson, NV
Zappos has earned a rep for championing a mega-happy company culture. In fact, theywrote the book on it. Culture and brand executive Sunny Grosso maintains that employee happiness isn’t fluff, it’s the backbone of the brand, so they take it very seriously. That means oodles of wonderful benefits: nap rooms, fun team events, monthly coworker bonuses, bike parking, employee shuttle service, and half-day Fridays. But Zappos also understands that healthy equals happy, and with that in mind, they offer their 1,500 employees free training classes and on-site fitness centers, company-sponsored fitness challenges, and endurance event reimbursements. Plus—no surprise—big discounts on footwear. New running shoes, anyone?
Photo: Life Fitness Life Fitness
Headquarters: Rosemont, IL
The media keeps reminding us that “sitting is the new smoking,” but companies are slow to get us on our feet. Not Life Fitness, who has seen the writing on the cubicle wall. Meeting rooms have standing-height conference tables, medicine balls are commonly tossed around during brainstorming sessions, and treadmill desks are at the ready should any of the 1,182 employees want a break from their usual setup of sitting or standing desks. If that sounds too languid, consider the circuit room where strength-training equipment is laid out to encourage a quickie eight-minute workout in the time it would take to do a Starbucks run. Or the FitBit race where the two Illinois offices pitted against each other to see who could gain the most steps. It’s all impressively innovative, but it’s also exactly what we’d expect from the company that debuted the first piece of electronic fitness equipment, the Lifecycle, 40-plus years ago. Rave on.
Photo: Otter Products LLC Otter Products LLC
Headquarters: Fort Collins, CO
The giant twisty slide that greets employees and visitors in the Otter Products lobby is only the first hint that the company embraces active fun. Another big clue: The number of the 890 employees biking to headquarters. Otter supports two-wheel commuters with indoor bicycle storage and workshops on routine maintenance and repairs. That and regular involvement in the city’s biannual Bike to Work Day has earned it a “silver” business status from the League of American Bicyclist. But it’s not all about the bike. An on-site fitness facility caters to other forms of exercise with a trainer holding group classes. And employees host “Endless Summer Clubs,” social get-togethers around different hobbies, from beer and wine tasting to hiking and running. Our suggestion: a beer-and-wine-tasting run-and-hike club, because how could we ever choose?
For the full list of 44 healthiest companies to work for, go to Greatist.com.
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