A private gym in the office, company involvement in weekend 5Ks, paid cardio classes at a fitness center across the street and no soda at work functions. Renova Solar (No. 153 on the 2016 Top Solar Contractors list), a residential and commercial solar installer serving the Coachella Valley in California, has embraced the fit life with initiatives like these and more.
“You just can’t beat people who are coming to work, feeling good, having the stamina to have a long productive day and go home, work out, and come back the next day feeling good,” said Lea Goodsell, vice president of business development and marketing.
Of course, installing solar is tough, physical work. The men and women who lug panels to rooftops definitely get their share of cardio throughout the day. But most solar companies have an office staff, too. Renova, led by CEO, part-time yogi and certified spin instructor Vincent Battaglia, has turned its attention to both teams.
“For installers, they’re getting a lot of fitness already,” Goodsell explained. “Our concern with them is to keep them healthy—sunscreen, cool towels, big hats, get them down off the roof when they need to rest, insulated water bottles—anything we can do to ensure they’re working safely.”
Meanwhile, in the office, the environment is one of encouragement, never shaming or judgment, Goodsell said. Employees will find co-workers willing to work out with them or offering a quiet encouragement as they pursue fitness in a private company gym. The results have been dramatic.
“We’ve had several people lose 30 lbs or more while working with us,” Goodsell said. “That’s been encouraging to see, because that’s something that will stay with them life-long, even after they leave Renova. Hopefully they’ve changed their lifestyle and eating habits, and hopefully they embarked on a healthier path.”
Numerous studies show there are many workplace benefits of exercise, including better concentration, sharper memory, enhanced creativity and lower stress. One study showed by the time people reach their fifth decade, those who exercise might have more brain cells than more sedentary peers. But it’s not just about brain power. Goodsell said a healthy culture helps people feel better about themselves.
“I think self-esteem certainly translates to better productivity at work, and all around feeling better about yourself and situation in life. And it translates in a lot of tangible and intangible ways,” she said.
For evidence that the fitness culture is working, Goodsell points to Renova Solar earning accolades like the Residential National Dealer of the Year from SunPower in 2014 and Best of the Valley, a local business recognition from Desert Magazine, for the last two years. Renova also won a local health and wellness award this year.
“People come in to our offices and say we’re a good looking bunch of people, and I think that stems from being happy and enjoying where we are and people feeling like the company cares about them as individuals beyond what they’re doing at work,” Goodsell said.