If you’ve already decided to offer a regular corporate chair massage service to your employees, you’re in good company.
Companies including Eddie Bauer and Google offer a regular in-house office massage program to their employees. By making the workplace a place of rejuvenation, these companies are merging employee wellness with employee incentives to stick around.
A one-time office massage event is a great way to reward your employees and is relatively easy to set up, but an on-going massage wellness program takes a little more forethought and structure. So how do you start?
How to Build a Corporate Chair Massage Program
1. Determine your chair massage budget
The first step to creating chair massage program for your employees, will be to look at your budget. What kinds of funds are available to put towards a regular chair massage service? Will you be pulling from a corporate wellness budget, employee morale, or "fun" budget, or a combination? Knowing what you can afford, and what a massage event should cost, will set you up to create the perfect program for your needs.
Study after study has shown that preventative healthcare services including chair massage ultimately reduce a company’s overall healthcare costs, not to mention make for happier employees who end up sticking with the company. That said, corporate chair massage services have price tags that shouldn’t break the bank anyway.
2. Decide on in-house or outsourced corporate massage program
Once a reasonable budget is determined, you’ll want to consider what makes the most sense for your company: hiring a massage therapist of your own and managing all the details, or using a chair massage company who handles everything for you.
Larger companies may find it more cost effective to work with a company who can manage scheduling, payments, licensing compliance and a large workforce that can handle a company that size. But smaller to mid-size organizations may benefit from hiring an individual. Just make sure you verify their massage and occupational licensing and insurance before you dive in.
3. Research your corporate massage therapy options
This step can feel daunting if you're not familiar with the different kinds of massage therapy that are out there. Start by asking your friends, family, and colleagues if there is a therapist someone recommends - word of mouth is often the best way to find a high-quality therapist. Your next best bet is to crack open the Internet and do a little digging. Many massage therapists local to your area will have a website or at least an online presence such as Yelp or Facebook.
If you're going the corporate massage company route, then definitely start with Google. Check out their online reviews on Google Plus, LinkedIn and Yelp to make sure they are legit and have a good track record.
Note that not all massage therapists or massage companies offer chair massage, as a massage chair is a unique piece of equipment and chair massage is a specific service. Once you've narrowed down your selection, make some calls and see about getting a free demonstration in your office.
4. Make financial arrangements with your massage company
Once you've picked your ideal office massage arrangement, you'll want to settle on your financial set-up. An established corporate massage company may have their own protocol as to how and when they are paid, but an individual therapist working as a sole proprietor may have other preferences. Whether you're cutting a check, making an online transfer from your bank to theirs, or having the employees pay the therapist directly, the payment arrangement should be simple to implement. Assign someone from your company to act as point person for the financial arrangements.
You'll want to decide whether or not to include a tip with your therapist’s services and if it's built into the price of the service, or if your employees should be expected to pay their own tips. In any case, make sure this is explicitly understood by all parties - including the therapist, the check signer, and your employees receiving the massages.
5. Set-up a regular corporate massage therapy schedule
Weekly? Every other week? Monthly? Your schedule will be determined by a few factors, such as budget, number of employees, and regular meetings or client visits you already have scheduled. The most common duration of a corporate chair massage is 15 or 20 minutes. This means you can have 3 or 4 employees massaged in an hour if you use only one therapist at a time.
Do the math to determine how many therapists you'll need if you want everyone massaged in one day, or if the massage services should be spread out over a few days. The massage therapist you're working with can help you determine the best schedule for them as well - including any breaks they may need if the visit is several hours long.
6. Don't forget the fine print
Now that you have the bigger points more or less established, make sure to consider the details: Will the therapist need a parking pass, parking validation, or security pass? Should the therapist sign a non-disclosure agreement? Who should the therapist check in with when they arrive to set up? Where will the corporate chair massages be given?
A quick note on that, by the way. Massage chairs don’t take up too much space – they’re about the size of a good quality computer chair – but the therapist needs to be able to have room to walk all around the chair. A clear space of about five feet square should be sufficient for most chairs and therapists. Any unused office or meeting room usually works best.
7. Get feedback from your employees on the chair massages
Once your chair massage program is underway, be sure to get regular feedback from everyone involved. Is the schedule working for your employees, or should it be moved to a different day or time? Does everyone feel comfortable with the therapist? Are the massages long enough or too long?
The majority of the time and effort you'll put into your on-site massage program will take place up-front, but to ensure its continued success you'll want to make sure you're checking in with all parties on a regular basis.