Why one company pays employees to exercise 2.5 hours a week

Clif Bar owners Gary Erickson and Kit Crawford
Courtesy of Clif Bar

Clif Bar & Company owners, husband-and-wife duo Gary Erickson and Kit Crawford, like to stay active. After all, the inspiration for their energy bar was born in 1990 when Erickson set off on a one-day, 175-mile bicycle ride.

Health and wellness have been the backbone of the company since day one, Erickson and Crawford tell CNBC. In fact, employees are encouraged to work out 30 minutes a day on company time, meaning they're essentially paid to exercise two-and-a-half hours a week.

"We have a program where if you work nine hours a day for nine days, then you get the tenth day — every other Friday — off," Erickson explains. "Or, you can work for eight-and-a-half hours and work out for 30 minutes."

Kit Crawford and Gary Erickson have always been active outdoor enthusiasts
Courtesy of Clif Bar

Clif Bar, which is headquartered in Emeryville, California, makes it easy for its 490 employees to capitalize on the benefit — there's a 2,500 square-foot onsite gym with a bouldering wall, personal trainers, group classes, weights and machines.

"Our participation rate is extremely high," says Erickson, and it's only been beneficial to the company: "Our employees are more enthused and more inspired to work and fulfill their job because they have all these unique benefits."

Plus, this particular employee benefit could be boosting productivity. After all, the most successful people make time for exercise. "I definitely can achieve twice as much by keeping fit," billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson tells FourHourBodyPress. "It keeps the brain functioning well."

Science is in his corner: Studies show that exercise can help you out professionally.

Branson, who wakes up at 5:00 AM to work out, is far from the only successful individual who prioritizes fitness. Dozens of today's top business leaders, from Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg to media guru Oprah Winfrey, exercise regularly.

If it works for them, it could work for you.

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