Bogart Associates gives staffers $750 to use on gym memberships, massages and more

December 29, 2013

Company: Bogart Associates.

Location: Vienna.

Employees: 74.

If staffers at Bogart Associates want to get fit or de-stress, they don’t have to do it on their own dime.

The Vienna-based IT management and engineering services firm offers each employee $750 a year to spend on health and wellness-related services of their own choosing. That could include more traditional fitness offerings, such as a gym membership. But the policy also covers services such as massages, facials and personal training sessions.

Employees simply have to submit receipts of their transactions and then can be reimbursed for the purchase.

“Most people absolutely love it,” said Mary Towsey, vice president of human resources. “We’ve heard comments that most people wouldn’t have certain memberships without the benefit.”

Tommy Charles, director of resource operations, said he used the money last year to obtain a membership at a gym in Merrifield that allowed him to buy one year of membership and get the second year free. Since he’s got the free membership this year, he’s instead put his $750 largely toward massages.

“There’s nothing better than ... getting a massage that you would normally have to pay for,” Charles said.

While the perk covers a broad array of services, it doesn’t apply to wellness-related products. So, for example, purchasing a treadmill for your basement wouldn’t count, nor would buying packaged meals for a weight loss program, such as Jenny Craig.

Towsey said this offering has been in place since the company started 10 years ago. Chief executive Donna Bogart came from a firm that did something similar, and as a fitness devotee, she decided to bring the policy to her own company.

The focus on wellness is evident in other company activities, too: This year, 12 Bogart employees participated in Tough Mudder, an intense obstacle-course challenge. The company also has fielded teams for cancer walks and the Army Ten-Miler.

Sarah Halzack is The Washington Post's national retail reporter. She has previously covered the local job market and the business of talent and hiring. She has also served as a Web producer for business and economic news.
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