Physical activity has always been the crux of the workday at Jersey Mike’s corporate headquarters in the Garden State. Founder and CEO Peter Cancro is hoping to bring more attention to the company’s unique initiatives and show other quick-serve industry leaders the benefits of integrating exercise into the workplace. That’s why he was the first New Jersey–based company leader to sign the National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity (NCPPA) CEO Pledge.
The NCPPA aims to promote healthful living in the workplace, and that goal meshes perfectly with Jersey Mike’s existing corporate culture, Cancro says. “If you cut your work day down and let your employees work out, you’re going to have more productivity than if they stay at their desk all day. It’s a proven fact.”
Cancro points to his own high school experience as a football player, citing how his academic performance was at its peak while he was engaged in sports. In much of the corporate world today, leaders tend to implement strict workplace structure that makes employees feel like their work performance is the only important thing, he says, but with that attitude, many “drive themselves into the ground.” At the sub shop’s headquarters, employees are allowed an hour-and-a-half to two-hour lunch breaks to take advantage of a 2,500-square-foot gym, built four years ago. Employees can choose when to take these breaks, Cancro adds.
“If you just have a gym facility, that’s great on its own,” he says. “But it wasn’t until we got a trainer in there and started group activities like a Tough Mudder event that we got the most people engaged.”
In addition to group fitness classes and access to trainers, employees at Jersey Mikes headquarters are encouraged to integrate physical activity with daily tasks. It’s not uncommon for management to meet with departments outside, walking on a trail around the office, Cancro says. Employees also have access to active office furniture such as stability balls.
“It was something we already focused on before the CEO Pledge, but we hoped that would be a way to get more exposure and awareness for other company owners,” Cancro says. “You’re going to get more done than ever before; you’re going to accomplish more tasks in the workplace when you’re physically active.”
By Tamara Omazic