With the economy struggling, and public outrage at a peak over lavish corporate expenditures, some companies are still treating their employees well. They’re doing it cheaply, right from the office by hiring massage therapists to come to their businesses and provide employees with chair massage at or near their workstations.
”The massages we provide are not the type of luxury that you might find at a resort spa,” said Alana Eve Burman, president and founder of JoyLife Therapeutics, a provider of corporate massage across the U.S. and worldwide. “The cost is much lower, and employees get a significant stress relief and morale boost.”
And these are stressful times. With corporate revenue and earnings down sharply over this prolonged recession, times have rarely been worse for corporate expenditures on employees. However, companies are finding that office massage can be a cost-effective way to reward employees and de-stress the work environment.
“We need a way to reward our employees, to show them that they are worthwhile, even if the amount of money we can spend on them to do this has been reduced,” said Diana Cortijo with World Bank, the international financing and development institution and a recent recipient of office massage. “Chair massage offers us a low-price way to bring the luxury of massage to our employees.”
Office massage, in addition to being low-cost, is also low-maintenance for companies. Generally, therapists provide their own transportation to the business, and bring their own massage chair and supplies. They then perform massage on employees on-site, with the employees fully clothed in an ergonomically relaxed, seated position. Most on-site massage happens at an impromptu station, often setup in an unused meeting room in the office.
“It really takes the stress out,” said Helene Mangones of Graf Repetti & Co, LLP, another recent office massage recipient and New York based accounting firm. “All of a sudden bigger projects seem easier to tackle. And the stress that builds up during the day is relieved, allowing for an easier finish to the day, and even the current week and month.”
This stress reduction could ultimately lead to increases in productivity and a rise in profits. Stress is one of the leading causes of lowered productivity in the workplace. One estimate puts direct stress-related costs to businesses in the US at $300 billion annually. Studies by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami have shown stress reduction, mood and immune system benefits from massage therapy.
“We notice that things can get a little stressed, especially given the current economic environment,” Cortijo, of World Bank, said. “Office massage helps keep our workers’ minds and bodies fresh, and doesn’t stretch our budget to do it.”