Focus on Fitness

Lots of companies want healthy employees. But few make it a defining corporate goal like Adobe does.

Adobe has some fitness-crazed employees around the world, and many are taking advantage of the company’s other wellness programs to stay active. Here’s a sampling.

Adobe FitBit Program:
Taking care of business by taking care of employees

One day at the office, Jeremy M., a sourcing specialist at Adobe San Jose, overheard a coworker discussing how much she liked her FitBit fitness tracker. He then heard her imagine what it might be like if everyone else at Adobe had a FitBit, too.

For Jeremy, who had always been interested in health, it was an intriguing idea—intriguing enough to look into.

“In the office, we’re always talking about how to have a healthy workplace and keep employees engaged around their fitness,” Jeremy says. “So that night, I reviewed all of the fitness trackers on the market and sent a list of their features to our senior vice president of People & Places. She reviewed everything and immediately backed this idea to help employees get their own FitBit.”

Active people are happier people, and that’s one reason that Adobe has always worked hard to make it easy for employees to stay fit. While the FitBit program is new, the company’s commitment to wellness isn’t. It offers a wealth of options: on-site gyms, regularly scheduled fitness classes, sports-focused clubs, corporate triathlons, friendly fitness competitions, and a generous reimbursement for those who pay out of pocket for wellness-related activities and memberships.

The FitBit program wasn’t just an extension of that environment; it was a way for the company to back up its talk with a serious investment. The company is subsidizing a large portion of the cost of each device, and the ability to use wellness dollars for the remaining cost has made the device free for many employees. They can even order a FitBit for a spouse at the same reduced price.

The program launched in May, and soon, FitBits were appearing on wrists all over campus.

By spending money on this for employees, Adobe is saying that it’s good to have balance. It’s good to take care of yourself.

“A company-sponsored program like this can motivate people,” Jeremy says. “Normally, you might connect with friends on Facebook to share your progress, but now your whole company is involved. We have our own social network. So we can look at each other and say, ‘How are your steps today?’ or create competitions by department. It’s fun and effective.”

One goal, Jeremy says, is to get more than 50% participation at U.S. locations. But a more important goal is to help employees manage a lifestyle change that is otherwise really, really difficult.

“When you’re early in your career, you think that you have to move up the ladder by showing your manager that you worked the hardest. So maybe you’ll choose to skip a family dinner or have another cup of coffee so you can get back on the computer,” Jeremy says. “You think you can burn the candle at both ends, but you’ll pay the consequences in the long run, and you might not be able to fix it then. By spending money on this for employees, Adobe is saying that it’s good to have balance. It’s good to take care of yourself.”

Kathy B.
Executive assistant in Lehi, Utah

How she stays fit
Lunchtime fitness classes on campus

In 1998, shortly after Kathy B. had her son, she started taking advantage of her lunch hour to get exercise. It quickly became a habit that she couldn’t shake. So when she joined Adobe, she was pleased that the Lehi campus had a staffed on-site gym that offered a variety of fitness classes during lunchtime—all of which are now free for employees.

“To have the wellness center here and have it staffed the way it is has become very important to me,” Kathy says. “That benefit is an important factor when deciding where to work.”

I’ve never worked for a company that’s so focused on wellness and has so many options. The gym, the clubs, on-site massage, the healthy options in the café—this is the fittest company that I’ve ever worked for.

Today, Kathy takes three classes each week—usually some combination of cardio, circuit training, Zumba, and spin. As if that doesn’t sound like enough of a commitment, Kathy even has the highest rate of fitness class attendance on the entire campus.

“There are days when work might be stressful, but I can go down to the wellness center and work out for my lunch hour, and then I feel better,” Kathy says. “It helps a lot just to get away and do something different.”

Kathy has recruited coworkers to attend classes. And the classes have proved to be a great way to meet other employees she might otherwise never have the opportunity to interact with. The health-focused atmosphere helps to keep them all accountable.

Philipp K.
Director of engineering in Basel

How he stays fit
Cycling, running, ergotherapy

Philipp K. has been an endurance athlete for years, always known for cycling, running, mountain biking, and skiing to a pretty intense degree. For Philipp, a typical week included 100 – 200 km of race biking, 50 km of mountain biking, and 50 km of running—on top of raising a family and working as an Adobe director of engineering in Basel. He even participated in one or two intense multisport competitions each year.

“My goal was always to reach the finish line and just find out how much my body is capable of doing,” Philipp says.

After a series of knee injuries forced him to dial down the intensity, Philipp decided to use his Adobe wellness dollars on ergotherapy to return to the top of his game. But he couldn’t give up the training; today he’s staying in shape by doing the same activities and working toward a recovery.

I really like that Adobe understands that you can be your best only if your mind and body are at their best, too.

“It helps to clear my mind. I can think of problems or issues that bothered me the whole day, and finally come up with the solutions while doing sports,” Philipp says. “It also helps me to think about my family or think about nothing at all. Sometimes that’s an important part of it: just relaxing and letting my body do what it has to do.”

Soon, Philipp will leave behind the outdoor sports haven of Basel to relocate to Adobe’s Lehi, Utah, campus. There, he’ll continue to build up his fitness at the company’s on-site fitness facilities, ride with the Adobe cycling team, and take advantage of the incredible mountain biking trails in Utah.

Martina S.
Enterprise account executive in Sydney

How she stays fit
Running

When Martina S. joined Adobe as an enterprise account executive in Sydney, she knew the company offered great benefits. But she didn’t realize initially that Adobe would reimburse her for some wellness costs.

“I was aware of the incentives and I knew they looked after their staff, but this was an exciting surprise,” Martina says. “I had read the Adobe Life magazine and watched videos, and it seemed like a great culture.”

Then she settled into her job and discovered that Adobe would reimburse some of her running club membership fees. She also noticed a lot of fitness-minded people around her, and they all seemed to balance work and health easily. That’s when she knew that Adobe wasn’t just giving lip service to the idea of wellness.

Adobe is a global business in a fast-moving industry, where shareholders have high expectations. So I was surprised at how encouraging they are that fitness is something we should all have time to do.

“This is by far the best company that I’ve ever worked for,” Martina says. The company has been so flexible. I do my training with a running club in the morning and I notice that a lot of people go to the gym at lunchtime.”

Since joining the company, Martina has participated in an Adobe triathlon and even ran her fastest time ever for a 10k race. She says she’s grateful to Adobe for making wellness an integral part of life for its employees.