Posted on September 26, 2018 by Gordon Smith

There’s more to installing a gym than putting weights and treadmills in a room, especially when it comes to a corporate gym. It can be an invaluable space to help drive employee engagement, so making sure you get the build, design and installation right is crucial.

If you’re thinking of installing a workplace gym, it’s important to get help and advice on the best solutions for your space. This is where a specialised, experienced gym consultant can really add value to your project.

We look at what to ask and what to expect from your consultant when putting your project out to tender.

Space and location

There are a few things to consider before bringing gym equipment into your selected space. So when selecting your gym consultant, make sure you ask if they carry out a space and location audit as part of their initial assessment.

The first being; is it the right space? Even though, as a business, you may have an area that you feel is suitable, a gym consultant may challenge that notion. You want a space that gives you a return on your investment. If you’re asking your employees to work out in a compact or small area, they’re less likely to use it, reducing the impact and ROI.

Not only that, but if your space means you can only have a small amount of equipment or a few weights, then lack of accessibility will also put people off.

Gyms can fitted into some surprisingly small, compact and awkward-shaped areas. But the best corporate gyms are spaces large enough to accommodate employees at peak times, and with enough equipment to ensure everybody has a good workout.

The second point a gym consultant will take into account is location. If there are issues that impact the office as a whole, such as sound, then this is an extremely important point to consider.

Creating a workout space above or below a meeting space or boardroom will require an acoustics and soundproofing assessment. The management team won’t appreciate loud music, or the sound of treadmills whirring, during an important meeting or when entertaining clients.

Utilities

Lights, electrics and air conditioning are vital for a good and effective gym space. Ideally, it’s best to create an environment with sound and vision. Not only keep staff motivated, but also encourage them to psychologically switch off from work and re-energise.

Good lighting will also help shape and determine the ‘mood’ of a gym space. A consultant will assess what capabilities you have in order to make any changes to existing light plans.

And of course, temperature control is incredibly important, especially where gyms don’t get much natural air flow.

Technology-wise, the rise of smart watches, Fitbits and fitness apps means employees will expect their office gym to have wi-fi access with equipment that can easily sync with smart technologies.

With this in mind, it’s important your gym consultant is up to speed with all the latest and emerging technology and consumer fitness trends. That way, you will have a gym that is future-proofed and doesn’t have to be re-configured every time there is a change in technology.

Health and safety

Going back to the previous point about space, a gym consultant should be fully aware of latest Health and Safety legislation, which means they are best-placed advise on whether your gym location complies with regulations.

Points to consider: whether the space is well-ventilated, and, if not, can it incorporate air conditioning? Can new cabling be accommodated , that’s if it can’t be placed under the floorboards. Perhaps more importantly, is it an inclusive space that can be used by staff with disabilities. If not, what needs to be done to change this.

The last thing any employer wants is a member of staff injured in a gym or alienated due to a lack of planning. Make sure your gym consultant knows and understands the legislation well.

Gym design

When the more practical elements have been thoroughly assessed, then it’s time for the consultant to look at the design and layout of the gym. Gym design trends change rapidly – your consultant should be on top of these at all times.

Again, this isn’t a case of painting the walls white and adding cardio equipment, it’s about thinking more strategically about what you want from the space.

Do you want it to be a place that inspires and motivates? Will it reflect your brand values? What about people who want to do Yoga and Pilates, is the gym versatile enough to create a calming space?

There are many solutions, such as changing the lighting according to the exercise that’s taking place or using shutters, screens or mirrors to create a more reflective environment.

At this stage, you should be working closely with your consultant to understand more about how your organisation wants the gym to be seen, and be used, to create the best space for your business. Maximise this opportunity to get the best from your consultant.

Maintenance

Once your gym build is complete and your staff are reaping the benefits, it doesn’t stop there. If employees are engaged, then don’t lose that due to faulty or broken-down equipment.

A consultant will always make sure you get the best equipment, but, if left and not serviced on a regular basis it will inevitably deteriorate and eventually break down, which could cost you more in the long-term. As a result, it’s important to ask the consultant about ongoing maintenance and the best approach for your business.

A gym consultant can take the ‘pain’ and stress away from having to plan and manage the gym build in-house. There are many practicalities and safety regulations that you need to adhere to and understand, which will mean additional staff training that takes time and, of course, cost.

Creating a space that your staff want to use takes planning and expertise; not to mention an in-depth understanding of gym behaviours and usage. Ultimately, when it comes to building a corporate gym it’s most definitely worth leaving nothing to chance.