Prediction: Your Boss Will Track Your Love Handles

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Status: Occurring

Prediction: Your boss will fat shame you

Many companies now offer on-site diet programs, health screening, even full blood work…On-site wellness is one way companies try to reduce health care liabilities. Vicodin in the snack machines and fish-oil-laced drinking fountains can’t be far behind…With health costs skyrocketing, larger companies could explore similar incentives.”

Econovation, 2011p.175

What Happened

It’s the age of behavioral bribery and conditional cash. Companies are penalizing employees for behaviors they deem unhealthy (or, more honestly, unhealthy for their wallets). We’re talking health insurance penalties of up to a few thousand dollars if your holiday season diet has tipped your scale more than your boss would like. Target has offered fitbits to 335,000 of its employees to improve its workers’ fitness and reduce health-care costs and they are not alone- four out of five large employers in the US now offer financial incentives to improve workers’ health. Full time employees are not alone this bombarding of health incentives, even colleges are forcing students to wear fitbits.


Others are arriving at this conclusion years after we saw it coming:

31 Tech Predictions for 2019, Dec 2018

11. Technology will play a bigger role in improving workplace wellness.
“The changes rocking the workplace–driven by new technologies, a tight labor market, and the exponential growth of employee data and tools to make sense of it–are showing no signs of letting up. At the same time, employees are under more pressure than ever before, with a recent Gallup poll finding 44 percent report feelings of burnout at work. In 2019, technologies designed with empathy in mind–that augment the human touch, rather than overpower or direct it–will come to the forefront as employers increasingly prioritize the holistic wellness of their people as the foundational way to improve their organization. Specifically, we will see businesses go beyond basic wellness programs, and increasingly turn to transformative technologies that improve workplace wellness through a true understanding of the employee experience. Maturing technologies like A.I. and natural language processing will help companies instantly understand their employee’s day to day lives, including critical qualitative insights like how they feel and why. As you can’t fix what you can’t measure, this will directly lead to actionable insights that actually improve organizations, not just drown them in more data.”
–Armen Berjikly, senior director of growth strategy at Ultimate Software, an HR tech software company with 4,400 customers and employees in 160 countries

Why It’s Time We Paid Employees to Exercise at Work, 2015

Why Nike and Under Armour Are Spending Wildly to Watch Your Every Step, Apr 2015

The Sticks and Carrots Of Employee Wellness Programs, Oct 2015

Walgreens’ Mobile Strategy Combines Payments, Health Care and Rewards, May 2015

Target to Offer Fitbits to 335,000 Employees, Sep 2015

Paying Employees to Lose Weight, Mar 2016

A US University Is Forcing All New Students to Wear Fitbits , Feb 2016

AT&T’s Gigabit Internet Is Cheaper in Kansas City If You Let It Track All Your Browsing, Feb 2015

MIT Spinoff Tenacity Raises $1.5M to Improve Workplace Productivity With ‘Social Physics’, 2016

Google Wellshift “Extraordinary Wellness Program”, Aug 2016

Employers Measure Workers’ Waistlines, Oct 2014

More Yoga, Less Pizza: How Tech Startups Are Getting Workers to Care About Their Health, Oct 2014

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Provocative predictions & prescriptions on where innovation, economics & culture will take us. Fearless. Funny.