Dairy Queen Gives Its Workers Treadmill Desks
The concept at Dairy Queen headquarters in Edina, Minn., is simple: A workstation is placed above a treadmill so that workers can type away as they walk off calories. At Dairy Queen, the treadmills were placed in a conference room on the company's ground floor, as the photo above shows. Megan Weisel, who manages Dairy Queen's wellness program, said the hope was that the treadmills also would be a "recruitment tool."
Can you really get work done while on a treadmill? In an interview with KARE 11, Weizel conceded that many Dairy Queen workers are dubious about their ability to get work done while using treadmill desks. "The one thing that I hear in that skepticism piece is that people say 'I have no time to go down there and use the treadmills,' " Weizel said.
But not everyone feels that way. Dairy Queen employee Craig Bader said the treadmills made sense. "I feel like there's no interruption in the work that I'm doing, so there's really no reason not to do it." Another employee, Heather Peters, who was on the wellness committee, said, "You can really accomplish a lot of work at the same time as walking," said Peters. "And it really helps you get through those more tedious tasks."
Many employers are jumping on the wellness trend. Even some traditional employers, such as financial and health care consulting firms, have installed treadmill desks. Some employers, including AOL, also have nap rooms, saying that sleep deprivation hurts workers' health and productivity. Last year an annual employer survey by professional services company Towers Watson showed that the number of companies offering financial incentives to get healthier has doubled from 36 percent in 2009 to 61 percent in 2012.
At a time of soaring health care costs, employers see the wellness programming as a worthwhile investment. There's a "need to find solutions," Weizel told KARE-11. As a result, Dairy Queen also plans to soon add yoga and fitness classes on site.
What about the fast food workers? In the last year, the fast food industry has come under fire for its treatment of workers. As AOL Jobs has reported, fast food workers have organized strikes in six U.S. cities to push for their wages to be almost doubled to $15 an hour. Dairy Queen cashiers and team members also tend to earn salaries approximating the minimum wage -- about $18,809 a year, according to the salary information website Glassdoor. News reports didn't mention whether the treadmills will be available to these workers.
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Dan Fastenberg was most recently a reporter with TIME Magazine. Previously, he was a writer for the Thomson Reuters news service's Latin America desk. He was also a reporter and associate editor for the Buenos Aires Herald while living in South America.
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