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On-site fitness drives trust, output at Whitehall firm

Employees at GUNA Inc. in Whitehall are encouraged to exercise whenever they desire. Pictured from left are Carmen Gerardi, vice president, and employees Rachel Jeffery, Alan Lucero, Holly Smith and Megan Mullin. - (Photo / Brian Pedersen)

While companies in the biotechnology field are inherently invested in health care and naturally extend benefits to employees, one local firm is taking this investment to a new level.

While companies in the biotechnology field are inherently invested in health care and naturally extend benefits to employees, one local firm is taking this investment to a new level.

GUNA Inc. in Whitehall began an initiative this year to invite all employees to participate in some form of physical activity during the work day, outside of lunch breaks.

Taking it from a business point of view, vice president Carmen Gerardi started the initiative and believes it goes a long way toward building trust, fostering collaboration and boosting productivity by showing an investment in the entire person.

“We do it together,” Gerardi said. “It’s also a way to start to build trust. Freedom comes with trust.”

Employees are encouraged to keep gym clothes at the office and to “take a break when the fever hits you,” said Rachel Jeffery, marketing spokeswoman for GUNA Inc. Employees can often be found walking, running and biking up the local trail during office hours, she added.

“The responsibility that comes with that makes you want to work harder for the company,” Jeffery said.

It’s a belief that permeates other aspects of the company’s structure, which is far from the traditional eight-hour office workday. All 10 employees at the Whitehall office are encouraged to collaborate, problem-solve, take initiative and even leadership roles.

One won’t find time clocks or time sheets for tracking hours and, for some, even job titles. However, one might find employees sitting on tables during conferences, bringing their pets in for a day or working from stand-up desks.

The office dog, Monty, helps many people in the office simply de-stress, Jeffery noted.

One constant theme is that employees are encouraged to get up and move as much as possible. In fact, one room in the company’s office building is devoted entirely to gym equipment.

Brian Pedersen
Reporter Brian Pedersen covers construction, development, warehousing and real estate and keeps you up to date on the changing landscape of our community. He can be reached at brianp@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4108.

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