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Alan Snel

MGM employees probably get healthier perks than you do

29 December 2014

LAS VEGAS -- There’s a workout room with elliptical machines, free weights and medicine balls; a lunchroom with free entrées, soups and salad bar; and a fun room with a pingpong table where tables and chairs are sometimes removed for free yoga sessions.

It’s not a Las Vegas resort or hotel on the Strip.

It’s just the corporate offices of the company that owns quite a few hotels in Las Vegas.

MGM Resorts International, the biggest hotel owner on the Strip, has launched an expanded wellness program for its workers at its corporate campus, not far from McCarran International Airport.

In April, MGM Resorts moved 700 workers from two company buildings that were demolished behind New York-New York to the campus on Grier Drive, south of the airport off East Sunset Road.

The move let MGM Resorts create new wellness options at the three-building campus, where workers are in departments ranging from finance to human resources.

Besides a wellness center, a lunchroom with free healthy food and a fun room, there are two treadmills with computers so that workers can do tasks while strolling off calories, boot camp-style workouts in the parking lot before work and even a trio of trails, ranging from a half-mile walk to 1.5 miles.

One of the 1,000 MGM Resorts employees (including the 700 transferred from the demolished buildings) at the corporate campus was Casey Mersch, 32, who was working up a sweat on the elliptical/stair-climbing machine with a view of airliners arriving and departing at McCarran.

On this recent day, it was about 1:30 p.m. in the second-floor “Wellness Center,” and Mersch said his boss in human resources gave him permission to work out and escape the phones for a few hours.

“I’m grateful for the convenience,” said Mersch, an HR shared services specialist. “It’s a beautiful setup with this window. I can watch the planes come in. It’s awesome.”

One building away across a parking lot was Carmen Castle, who walks on a treadmill at 1.6 miles per hour three times a week while reading emails and contracts.

Castle is among about five hard-core treadmill station users, who stroll and work in a small room with wall messages reading, “Don’t forget your running shoes” and “Walk while you work.”

Another employee, Lynda Cline, an administrative assistant, also walks the treadmill — but she does it as a workout after work. The workplace treadmill station has helped Cline shed 77 pounds since April.

To guide the workers on exercise and diets, MGM Resorts has 26 coaches consulting for its company.

“We are deeply committed to providing health care benefits aimed at healthy living that include wellness coaches available to all of our employees, on-site fitness classes and resources within many of our properties, and benefit plans that drive a healthy lifestyle,” said Michelle DiTondo, MGM Resorts’ senior vice president of human resources.

“We consider these investments in our employees and the overall culture of our company,” DiTondo said.

The lunchroom, open 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., is called the Bistro, where everything is free, from the grab-and-go sandwiches, soups and salad bar to the hot entrees such as whole-wheat pasta, pizza and beef stir fry. It’s a good investment, office building manager Irene Rivera said, because workers are more productive and stay on campus without having to take time to drive to a lunch spot.

“The biggest complaint is that there is not enough desserts,” Rivera said.

The ground-floor Bistro anchors the 80,000-square-foot finance building, which was designed with creating a sense of open spaces for work areas while also including a fun room, where workers play pingpong, and an outdoor patio for mental break wellness.

It’s not quite the informal work atmosphere at’s downtown headquarters, but the open space and array of mental break options have been embraced by MGM Resorts employees, said Rick Arpin, senior vice president and controller who helped with the design elements.

“The reaction by employees has been much better than we hoped,” Arpin said.
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