Fitbit quietly launched two new wearable activity trackers last week, but consumers will not be able to find these trackers in the local sporting goods or big box electronics stores. The new Fitbit Inspire and Fitbit Inspire HR trackers are designed for employees to use as part of their company’s wellness programs.
The two new trackers are similar in form and function to some of the company’s existing trackers. Fitbit Inspire works like the Fitbit Alta, with activity and sleep tracking, alerts, a calorie meter, and reminders to move. The Fitbit Inspire HR has those features and adds a heart rate monitor and pace tracking, when paired with a phone’s GPS system.
The real difference is that the Inspire trackers are only available through health plans, employers, and health systems. This new focus highlights the increased emphasis companies are placing on employee wellness. Companies recognize that employees need to be engaged and motivated to perform at their peak, and to do that, employees must be healthy.
The Rise Of Corporate Wellness Activities
Enter the boom of corporate wellness programs. The global wellness market is anticipated to reach $72 billion by 2023, and companies are all in. From offering free flu shots to filling the vending machine with healthy options, companies are looking at ways to encourage employees to be more fit.
Overall, these programs are effective at helping employees perform better. One study reported that employees who participated in employee wellness programs improved productivity an average of one full day per month. In another survey, 62% of employees with wellness programs felt they were more productive and 56% said they had taken fewer sick days because of the program.
Wearable fitness trackers are a big part of this fitness movement. In 2018, U.S. employers expected to integrate more than 13 million health and fitness tracking devices in their wellness programs. While some employees are already using their own wearable fitness device for personal use, a corporate-only device encourages participating in group goals which is motivating and builds community. Also, a fitness tracker may be more affordable to purchase through a corporate plan than as a consumer.
From the employers’ point of view, corporate-only devices provide important employee data to fuel corporate incentives and can be specifically designed to correspond to corporate health plans and wellness goals. Fitbit’s Inspire line joins Garmin’s Vívokí as devices used solely in the corporate environment.
Advantage For Corporations
Fitbit’s launch into the corporate environment is not just out of concern for employee health. Although Fitbit has been the top selling fitness tracker in North America, with 25 million active users in 2017, sales have dropped as more consumers seek the convenience of activity tracking combined with smart watches. But Fitbit’s misfortune may prove an advantage to corporations ready to take advantage of this new direction of adding wearable tech to their wellness programs.
Wellable now offers the Fitbit Inspire and Inspire HR in their wearable device store for employee wellness program participants.