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Here Are Some Health Initiatives Accounting Firms Should Consider for the Upcoming Busy Season

While ya'll have been diligently protecting our capital markets, I've been binge-watching a million seasons of “The Biggest Loser” on Hulu. Why didn't anyone tell me about this show? I would have started watching it years ago! Meanwhile, I've also been scrolling through “office workers are all going to die of stress-induced heart attacks” articles. My “Biggest Loser” binge has inspired me to list ways that accounting firms can improve our health, lower health care costs, and – most importantly, prolong our lives.

Hand out FitbitsAccording to Bloomberg, the free Fitbit program encourages employees to move more and saves employers money on health care costs. “Appirio Inc., shaved 6 percent off its health bill after the first year using the device.” Other companies implementing a Fitbit program “include Bank of America Corp., Time Warner Inc. and BP Plc.” The only catch for the free program? Employers have access to your Fitbit dashboard. So… will your steps become a new performance evaluation metric?

Replace all chairs in the office with bosu balls — …or not. At first it seems like a genius idea — work your audit and your core! Improve your posture! However, experts say that sitting on an exercise ball at work provides minimal benefits, and one researcher “found that when workers on ball chairs reach sideways for something, they risk toppling over.” Hilarity ensues. It's one of those ideas that HR dreams up to freak out the legal department. Consider instead…

Pedal desks — Sitting sucks. So many studies cite the hazards of office jobs –- including heart disease, soft bones, neck strain, obesity, and colon cancer. If the regular rat race to partner isn't enough physical activity for you, ask the firm to buy you a desk pedaler. They range from $30 for under-the-desk models on up, and some elliptical-type models even sync with your Fitbit app. Personally, this thing looks like a kick press. Before you know it, the firm will expect you to audit accounts receivable and churn out textiles. 

Treadmill desks — I'd have to ditch my heels if I wanted to use a treadmill desk without breaking my ankle in the most horrifying way possible. A part of me still feels like treadmill desks are ridiculous, but Forbes cites studies that treadmill desks can actually boost productivity once workers get used to them. After using the desks for “four to six months, workers had become accustomed to their new routines and… quality of work, quantity of work and the quality of exchanges with colleagues, all steadily improved.”

Free chewing gum — According to Jillian Michaels and “The Biggest Loser,” chewing a stick of gum can help reduce cravings and keep you from raiding the office snack drawer. At GC HQ, Greg and I keep our free gum under lock and key because Caleb doesn't give a fuck and will steal our shit.

Free or Subsidized Gym Memberships — One Detroit law firm gave free memberships to the Detroit  Athletic Club to its summer associates. The associates could de-stress and network at the Club after work. Winning. One New Jersey accounting firm helped its employees finance their own home gyms. “Wilkin & Guttenplan PC… offers its .. staff interest-free loans against the purchase of home gym equipment.” The investment will encourage employees to stay healthy and will lower eventual health care costs for the employer.

Fruit basket at the office — They did this at my office for a time, and it helped those of us who had been subsisting off of take out and who hadn't seen or eaten a piece of fruit in months. Can't say no to free citrus fruit! Public Accounting: Fighting off scurvy one A1 at a time.

Add Jillian Michaels to the team — Never mind. She's already been promoted to Chief Yelling Officer at PwC. She'll see you in February.