Corporate News: Fitness Trackers Not Just a Consumer Play

All employees would love a holiday gift from their employer. How would you like that gift to be a bicycle?

That’s what Ikea gave their employees one year, according to the Washington Post. But this year, after asking workers what they’d want, the retailer gave all l4,000 U.S. employees “an UP fitness wristband from Jawbone.”

Said Jacqueline DeChamps, the human resources manager for Ikea U.S.: “It’s an investment in our co-workers’ health and well-being.”

Writes the Post: “Amy McDonough, who manages Fitbit’s corporate wellness business, says she’s noticed this shift in the last couple of years. Employers used to think about the gadgets simply as fun gifts, but now tend to tie them much more to benefits.”

The piece continues: “The potential for the market is huge: A 2013 study by ABI Research found that over the next five years, more than 13 million wearable devices with embedded wireless connectivity will be integrated into corporate wellness plans.”

The piece lists various activities the wearables makers have created with corporates:

“Jawbone announced Up for Groups, a new service aimed at businesses that will let them view aggregate data on employee habits as wells as nudge workers to get up and move when there’s a lull in activity.”
“Fitbit has had a corporate wellness business for several years, and says it currently works with 30 companies in the Fortune 500, including Time Warner, McKesson and Bank of America.”

Another motivation according to the piece: “This growing demand from the corporate market partly reflects companies’ desire to bring more accountability to programs that long relied on the honor system.”