Sure, there’s the gym. But there’s also rock climbing and figure skating and jiu-jitsu and Zumba. That’s why Adobe goes far beyond the typical gym reimbursement to help our employees stay fit however they choose.
“A few years ago, when Jared L. was helping his family set up Christmas decorations, he reached down to move the couch.” Nothing. It wouldn’t budge. “I knew the couch didn’t get heavier,” he says, “so I must have gotten weaker.”
Jared, a principal consultant at our Lehi, Utah, campus, decided to use Adobe’s wellness reimbursement for a gym membership. A mile on the treadmill was the best he could do, but he kept at it. Soon he grew bored of the treadmill and set a goal: a race. He registered for a triathlon.
“I figured that cost had been a barrier to entry to the triathlon races, but because I then had the money available, it was no longer an excuse.”
After the triathlon came the marathon, then a half Ironman triathlon, and then a full Ironman triathlon. For the uninitiated, this is what an Ironman entails: a 2.4-mile swim, followed immediately by a 112-mile bike race, followed by a 26.2-mile marathon run. All in the same day. That’s right: The marathon is the cooldown.
“For me, it’s a hobby and a goal to work toward,” Jared says. “It gives me motivation to say that I’ve committed to something.” The wellness reimbursement from Adobe offsets his out-of-pocket costs, makes him feel more productive at work, and gives him extra energy to play with his two young kids. And it has also spread to other people in his life.
“My wife has entered in a couple of running events and my parents have made a commitment to become healthier. Coworkers and peers—we challenge each other,” he says. “I remind people that when I was at their stage, I could barely run to the mailbox.”
Lisa C.’s love of figure skating started when she was eight years old, but the lack of an available rink in her college town put her hobby on hold. Now that she works in our San Francisco, Ca. office, she’s only a few minutes away from a rink—and her passion is reignited. Lisa spends 10 to 20 hours a week skating. “It gives me a boost of energy and makes me feel very good about myself,” says Lisa, a quality engineering developer on our Digital Publishing team. “When I go back to work after a lunchtime practice, I can really focus. Everything just clicks.”
Lisa initially used her reimbursement for group lessons and then later applied it to coaching fees for private lessons. She now represents her club at competitions and plans to compete in the U.S. Figure Skating Adult Sectionals in 2013.
Figure skating isn’t a cheap hobby: boots, blades, lessons, competition fees, and traveling fees all add up. But Lisa says the Adobe benefit helps keep her mind off money and on training.
“It allows me to focus more on skating and less on how much everything is going to cost,” Lisa says. “Other skaters say, ‘My company pays for gym memberships but that’s it.’ So I feel really lucky that I have this benefit.”
At 5:30 a.m. on most mornings, when the birds in Los Gatos, California, are just waking up, Clark D. and his teammates are climbing into a boat on the Lexington Reservoir, rain or shine. Two hours of intense rowing later, Clark climbs out of the boat, runs to his car, and jumps onto a conference call with his team.
Clark, an Adobe Acrobat engineering manager, began rowing two years ago after a knee injury knocked him out of his running routine. It didn’t take long for him to get hooked. “I caught the competitive bug,” Clark says. “It helped having a team around me that gave me a reason to get up in the morning. If I don’t show up, the boat might not go out.”
Fees for club membership and entrance in regattas reach several hundreds of dollars each year, so the wellness reimbursement keeps Clark’s out-of-pocket costs in check. In addition, he serves on his club’s board of directors—volunteer time for which Adobe donates an hourly rate under our Dollars for Doers program. Adobe even allows employees to use the benefit for family members’ wellness activities, so Clark put his reimbursement towards his son’s rowing lessons.
“Yet another reason why Adobe is a nice place to work,” Clark says. “Work is not just work; with a program like this, it becomes an enabler of other things.”
Even when a tough 2K test tires him, Clark says his rowing hobby makes him more effective at work.
“When you’re in the boat, you’re totally focused on the person who’s right in front of you. That total focus frees up your subconscious, and there’s a lot of problem solving that goes on back there,” he says. “Plus, the never-quit attitude translates well to working.”
Like most programmers, Martin spends his days sitting in front of a computer. That’s why, when he’s not at work in his San Diego, California office, he spends as much time as he can on the move.
“It’s nice to get up and go out for a run. You feel fresh when you return, and I think you work better,” Martin says. “Plus, I’ve read a lot of scary articles about how it’s really bad for you if you sit too much.”
Martin used to run about 2 races every year. But once he realized that Adobe would reimburse him for some entrance fees, he picked up the pace. He now competes in between 5 and 10 races every year.
Another wellness benefit at Adobe includes a financial incentive for getting a medical checkup. That inspired Martin to see a doctor, who figured out that a gluten allergy was the reason for Martin’s ongoing stomach pains.
“I’m very grateful for that,” Martin says. “I might have found out eventually, but you know how we guys are—we usually don’t go to the doctor that often.” Martin says he can understand why some companies might want to limit the use of a wellness reimbursement to gym memberships. But he says Adobe’s approach pays off for employer and employees in the end.
“I think a lot of companies are more ‘churn and burn’ because they don’t get the most out of their employees,” Martin says. “You get the feeling, at Adobe, that they’re very interested in you being successful not only at work but also with your health and everything in your life.”