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Let's get your team on their way to wellbeing.

  • Writer's pictureBrittany Kalinowski

The Role of Technology in Employee Wellness: Trends and Pitfalls

motivation is the puzzle piece to employee engagement
From meditation to yoga and gamification, here’s how technology is impacting employee wellness programs.

According to the Aflac workforce survey, 70% of employees involved in an employee wellness program have higher job satisfaction than those not enrolled in a company’s program.

Furthermore, Zippia says companies that provide wellness programs see an average six-to-one return on investment (ROI). But what do these employee wellness programs look like?

Up-to-date employee wellness programs leverage technology to increase behavior change toward health and happiness at work. That may include competing in a step challenge, adding a budget to invest in ergonomic tech for remote workers, or participating in weekly meditation or yoga sessions as a team.

The role of technology is paramount in any modern employee wellness program. Here are the current trends and pitfalls you need to know.

Technological trends in employee wellness

Virtual fitness programs

The pandemic led to a significant increase in virtual workouts and fitness programs. And out of all of the trends in the pandemic—Instagram challenges, constant Zoom calls, and not wearing pants to work—virtual fitness programs have stayed.

One study gathered data from 406 virtual team workout participants—results found virtual workouts to improve team identification, satisfaction, and compliance with team norms.

Virtual fitness programs are an excellent way to get your team moving—without excluding your remote employees. From yoga sessions to workout classes, virtual workouts are here to stay and one to implement for your team.

Wearable devices and fitness trackers

According to Zipdo, 20% of adults in the US own a smartwatch, and 15% own a fitness tracker. Employers are putting these to good use by hosting wellness challenges (steps, activity levels, sleep, etc.) and rewarding participation and success.

In fact, some employers have even invested in smart kit in a bid to get their employees more active. Co-workers run marathons together, walk to see who can achieve the most steps, and compare sleep data to see whose evening routine is the most effective.

You can use devices and fitness trackers to gather more data insights and to gamify your employee wellness—more info on this below.


Gamification is one of the hottest trends in employee wellness. Employers are leveraging strategic aspects of gamification, think: point scoring, competition, leaderboards, motivation, and rewards, to motivate their employees in their wellness efforts.

For example, let’s say you host a challenge to see who can get the most steps each month. The challenge may be enough to get some people motivated. However, introducing a leaderboard, proper tracking (smartphones, watches, and other smart devices), and perhaps introducing rewards (gift cards, etc.) increases the stakes and gets more people involved.

Employers can partner with digital health apps to host challenges and distribute rewards. It can help you turn particularly mundane or not-so-exciting activities into something more fun.

Digital health apps

There are various digital health apps out there that you can offer as part of your wellness program. From meditation to challenges and therapy or counseling, you can provide your employees with exactly what they need.

Some apps are all-in-one-based—they include mental health training programs, guided meditation sessions, access to qualified professionals, and more. Other apps allow employers to host challenges to get your team involved, whether who can do the most steps, drink the most water, or get the best quality sleep.

The FitPros app grants your employees access to FitPros LIVE—your weekly dose of well-being with activities on demand, such as meditation for stress and anxiety release, restorative yoga, Zumba, and meditation for productivity. You can also host challenges and much more.

Using technology to gather data insights

As you add new wellness initiatives, you can use technology to gather data insights—find out what’s working and what can be improved.

Data can be accessed from various sources, such as:

  • Wearable data

  • Employee surveys

  • Participation levels in wellness events

  • General feedback

Regular assessment of your wellness program is key. New trends are appearing all the time. Track your program effectiveness and intervene when needed to keep employee motivation, health, and productivity at an all-time high.

Employee surveys are a tool we utilize at FitPros to ensure wellness activities and initiatives align with what your employees want. This further increases the likelihood of your employees sticking to these new habits.

Pitfalls of technology in employee wellness

Increased screen time 

Adding more tech to your work may sometimes feel like a double-edged sword. You are adding all this new tech, wearables, and digital health apps to improve health, but screen time may rise if you’re not careful. And we know just how big of a trend that is.

However, you can use tech to combat it—fight fire with fire, as they say. You can educate employees with health talks on managing screen time better (e.g., setting limits, adding restrictions, and setting reminders to get up and move every hour).

The wellness initiatives you choose can also help limit screen time. Walking challenges and other fitness activities get your employees out of the chair and moving.

High maintenance costs

Staying up to date with the latest technology and employee wellness trends can be expensive. It can also include high maintenance costs. Before you go all in on one trend, it can help to allocate a budget properly.

Further, you might qualify for what is known as “wellness dollars.” Your insurance carrier sets these aside for use in employee wellness programs. However, most employers don’t even know these exist.

If your insurance carrier offers these, the maintenance costs to upkeep can be reduced. It can help you try out new initiatives with little to no risk.

According to Zippia, companies that provide wellness programs see an average six-to-one return on investment (ROI). Wellness programs can also lessen absenteeism by 14-19%.

Increased distractions at work

Finally, another pitfall of technology in employee wellness is potential distractions at work. 

There’s no longer just the ping of Slack and emails but leaderboard rankings, gossip on who’s leading what challenge, and talk of who will win the marathon you’re all training toward.

Despite this, the distractions are likely to be limited. It’s not like you’re handing them Angry Birds—you’re providing healthy habits and competition to increase team building and motivation and improve overall health.

Leverage technology to improve wellness

Using technology in your employee wellness programs can help you take early action—and sometimes even prevent—toward healthcare costs. You can leverage the latest technology to get your employees moving, motivated, and engaged. 

You can even support their mental health (currently provided by approximately 86% of employers) by implementing wellness initiatives and activities or direct mental health support such as counseling or therapy.

To create the very best program with the highest ROI for your workplace, conduct regular assessments using data insights and employee surveys and interviews to find what your employees want and then implement that the best you can.

Contact us today to learn more!

Author: Lindsay Johnson, CEO and Founder of FitPros


FitPros is a turn-key wellness provider empowering people to take charge of their personal health.

Contact FitPros to diversify your company’s wellbeing offerings and help employees meet their health & fitness goals.

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