Fitbit: Corporate wellness 2.0

The perk of a paid gym membership through your employer is becoming outdated as more companies modernize their corporate wellness programs, and Fitbit is making its mark on the employee health scene.

Wearable activity trackers like Fitbit are becoming more popular tools for promoting wellness as companies get more creative with creating wellness programs such as fitness, weight-loss and other healthy competition challenges to motivate employees to live more productive lifestyles.

In addition to tracking and counting steps, the devices also can track the heart rate, which can be used to monitor stress levels, restlessness, and time spent standing up. Human resource departments  can use the data to create more tailored health programs for employees, and even use the data as a tool to lower insurance costs.

Some of the Fitbit's biggest customers include BP, Bank of America, IBM, Kimberly-Clark, Time Warner, and Target, which offers the trackers to 335,000 of its U.S. employees. More than 70 large employers have purchased the devices in bulk for their staff, according to a Forbes report.

And there are federal employee health plans that offer discounts for the purchasing the devices.

While Fitbit is the leader in the industry, sales in the market as a whole are expected to go from 2.5 million units in 2016 to 97.6 million units annually by 2021, with corporate wellness as the main driver, according to marketing research firm Tractica.

Because Fitbit is clearly aiming to grow by tapping into employers’ growing concerns about rising health care expenses costs, don’t be surprised to find the devices a part of your own employer's wellness program, if you haven’t already.

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Contributors

Edward A. Zurndorfer Certified Financial Planner
Mike Causey Columnist
Tom Fox VP for Leadership and Innovation, Partnership for Public Service
Mathew B. Tully Legal Analyst

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