New research in the field of Employee Benefits suggests that amenities can be perceived as an increased salary. Health insurance, extra vacation days, the ability to work from home, workplace wellness activities such as gyms and workouts, are all listed as reasons that workers take jobs with their employer and stay at their current workplace longer. Millennial workers are especially interested in the various benefits they can get at work.

According to a Harvard Review poll “fitness facilities” and “healthy snacks” are among the top 10 things that employees want the most from their workplace.

A number of industry groups that represent Multi-Family Residential Buildings and the Hotel Industry report the same types of findings for their constituents. For example, research by the National Apartment Association (NAA) suggests that “Fitness centers remain a must-have in any community.” Fitness centers were the most popular of the amenities listed in their research which also, much like the Employee Benefits research, suggested that those amenities are perceived as direct financial benefits to residents and guests.

Further, The NAA research concluded a significant increase in rent and revenue collected for buildings who updated their amenities adding “it’s imperative that apartment property owners remain competitive, keeping buildings, outdoor spaces and individual residences up to date.”

Dan Ariely, Professor of Behavioral Economics at Duke University, wrote in his book “Predictably Irrational” about the cost of social norms versus market norms. Market norms are those practices that we utilize in business place transaction like giving an agreed upon paycheck every week for 40 hours of work or collecting a rent check in exchange for the use of an apartment. But he stresses the importance of social norms, those offerings like providing an exercise space at work or the community area of your building and planned activities that allow staff or residents to be social. Ariely’s research has proven that the social norms and amenities have a value much greater than their weight in gold.

In summary, offering a fitness amenity is imperative if you want to remain at all relevant. Offering an extraordinary exercise environment will give you a strong competitive edge. If you get it right, they will come. If you keep it current, they will stay.

Blog Author, Andrew Gavigan is a recognized speaker in the fitness industry, master trainer, and serves as Director of Education for Aktiv Solutions. He is a NASM and NFPT Certified Personal Trainer and  Behavioral Change Specialist and has developed comprehensive fitness and exercise programs for health club & workplace wellness facilities. Andrew’s passion centers around user engagement and human behavior. He is currently studying psychology and economics at Los Angeles Pierce College.