In a world where more and more companies are offering telecommuting to their employees, which is seen by 80% as a job perk, there are fewer reasons to get exercise in one’s daily routine.
For this reason, many companies in Singapore are turning to fitness tracks in an effort to keep their staff healthy, reduce sickness, and even, in some cases, to boost productivity.
Employers are able to collect data from staff who opt into the fitness programs with watch-like devices from companies like Fitbit, which keep track of data such as the number of steps walked, heart rate, and hours slept.
Fitbit began pilots for its corporate program in Singapore two years ago and has since signed four major corporations and 16 smaller and medium-sized companies.
The employers distribute trackers, which are marked down at a bulk rate to a cost of about $82.48 to $274.94, and advise employees on how to use and apply their biodata. The information informs employers on how their staff is doing and how to better inform incentive programs, along with other measures to take to optimize staff health.
Amy McDonaugh, the Fitbit Wellness vice-president said that corporate wellness programs could help companies save on medical costs in the future.
Fitbit is working with insurers like AIA Vitality and Manulife in an effort to lower healthcare premiums for companies participating in the programs. As McDonough says: “It’s about being proactive instead of waiting until you’ve attracted a health condition.”
Indeed, health trackers are a top fitness trend recently, not just in corporate offices. They recently beat out body weight training and high-intensity interval training, which were popular fitness trends in the past.
Part of the reason they are becoming so popular is because they offer positive feedback. William Thorton, a wellness director at the YMCA of Greater Richmond, says that, “What we find in a practical sense in the folks we work with, those types of things are a good kick-start to get people motivated…If you are wearing a Fitbit, you can get feedback on your phone that gives you like a push notification that says ‘Hey, good job,’ or ‘You need 200 more steps in order to reach your goal.'”
The ability to keep close track of progress and improvement, as well as storing data and compiling statistics, is attractive to businesses for their and employees and regular consumers alike.