Health Incentives Keep GBA Staff Going Strong

GBA News

Grumman/Butkus Associates has sustainability in its corporate DNA, and this emphasis extends to supporting the health of its busy staff.

Like many businesses, G/BA provides an array of health insurance options (medical, dental, vision). The firm also offers financial support for health club registration and monthly fees. The fact that a large health club is located across the street from the Evanston office doesn’t hurt, though G/BA-ers also apply the benefit at other facilities, including the YMCA for staff who are regular swimmers. An annual free vaccination clinic in the office makes flu shots convenient.

Beyond these typical perks, G/BA provides enthusiastic support for its contingent of regular bike-to-work employees – some of whom ride from homes as far as 25 miles away. The Evanston office offers secure indoor bike parking in the company storage room, which was recently upgraded with a changing area and cubbyholes for gear. Principal John Villani, an avid rider, spearheaded the D-I-Y project (below).

People who ride to work the majority of the time are eligible for a monthly subsidy to help cover bike expenses, paid as an annual lump sum. The IRS-supported transportation benefit is more commonly used by mass transit riders but has been adopted by many of our bike-to-work staff. “This is a nice perk, especially for a velophile always on the lookout for the next sweet ride,” says Project Manager Steve Zehr.

Our Wisconsin staff has nurtured a strong bike-team culture through numerous charity events and recreational rides. During the past few months alone, the group has participated in three 25-plus-mile county rides beginning at the Milwaukee regional office; the Tour de Cure, a 30-mile ride benefiting diabetes research; and Beyond Design, a 30-mile-plus tour in support of a community foundation run by local architecture firm Eppstein Uhen. “We usually have at least five or six participants, and we’ve gotten a few sales reps to ride along as well,” reports Associate Hans Plichta. (Shown at the top of the blog page is the G/BA Wisconsin team at Beyond Design. Front row, left to right: Kevin Matthews, Bob Bayne, Debbie Haws, Vince Van Oostenbrugge, and Bill Edwards. Back row: Paul Noetzel [left] and a non-G/BA friend.)

A more unusual healthy strategy is G/BA’s willingness to invest in high-quality standing desks, which adjust to allow work in both standing and seated positions. Research increasingly confirms that too much sitting has a detrimental effect on the body, and that periodic standing during the work day is beneficial. In the Evanston office, which numbers about 80 people, 18 are currently using standing desks (shown below, Project Manager Eric Peyer). New hires are automatically offered the option, but any staff member can request a standing desk at any time.

“I really appreciate the standing desk,” says Project Manager Steve Throop. “It allows me to sit part of the day and stand part of the day. Since neither sitting all day nor standing all day are good for one’s health, the standing desk gives me the best of both worlds.”

Work-life balance is a hallmark of the G/BA culture, as we strive to create a more sustainable planet. These innovative employee health benefits reflect this philosophy.  Says President Chad Luning, “Physical activity and fitness are closely linked to mental well being. You can feel the energy in the office – anything we can do to encourage and grow that is well worth the investment.”

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