SpotsYou: Gym Reimbursements Through Mutual Commitment

Kevin Powers, Former Senior Digital Strategist

Article Category: #News & Culture

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Free Lunch Fridays. Third Third Thursdays. 100% covered health benefits. Shiny Apple hardware. It’s not as if Viget is lacking in the benefits department. But there’s always room for more, right? Say hello to SpotsYou, a simple app we built to reimburse employees for gym memberships -- memberships they actually use.

Despite our desk-centric nature, folks at Viget are quite active. Trevor plays basketball. Chris Crossfits. Minh and Todd climb things. And even our CEO, Brian, considers himself the fastest human around. Helping employees out by offsetting some fitness costs was a pretty easy decision. The real question was what’s the right way to do it, and that’s where SpotsYou comes in.

Gym membership reimbursements are nothing new, but they’re often a one-sided commitment and can even serve as a disincentive. When you pay for a membership, you're motivated to go (or stop paying). When someone else picks up the tab whether you go or not, there's less motivation to get your money's worth, and no consequences for skipping.

SpotsYou helps this dynamic by fostering mutual commitment. Viget spots its employees some money toward gym memberships by spotting them at the gym (via Foursquare check-ins). All we need to do is check in eight times in a given month to receive a reimbursement. A fair arrangement all around, no? SpotsYou also encourages a bit of friendly competition by tracking who's hit the gym the most on its leaderboard. 

Of course, the approach isn’t bullet proof since Foursquare check-ins can be spoofed; but I’d hate to imagine the karmic boomerang one might endure by lying about working out. 

We built SpotsYou on the side ala our Pointless Corp work and so far have about half of the company participating. It’s a fun project with a fun purpose, and makes our daily seated nature a little less worrisome. SpotsYou isn’t just for Viget, however. While it’s squarely a hobby project, it’s easy to imagine other organizations finding the app useful. Maybe yours?

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