Benefits and Compensation

What’s Next for Corporate Wellness? 3 Trends to Keep an Eye on in 2023

As HR leaders, we’re typically preoccupied with “what’s next” this time of year. What trends should we be monitoring? What new ideas are percolating below the surface? And what big ideas could transform our industry in the year ahead?


And while I don’t have all the answers (no one does, really!), I do find myself in a unique position to speculate on what’s next for the corporate wellness space based on my daily interactions with my HealthFitness colleagues, our clients, and my friends in the industry.

Keep in mind, our industry has seen an enormous amount of change over the last 3 years. The pandemic changed how we deliver wellness solutions to employees. Some of the wellness offerings have changed completely. And, of course, the way we work has changed—significantly.

The saying “change is the only constant in life” has never been truer than today in our industry because 2023 is shaping up to be another big year of change. Let’s take a peek at three big trends I see shaping up to change the corporate wellness space even more in 2023:

Trend #1: More Employees will Seek Out Personal and Small Group Trainings

The last year or so has seen employees wanting to get back on track with their fitness and wellness goals. Many people developed some fairly unhealthy habits during COVID—too much sugar, too much alcohol, and way too much couch time, among others. Working and living at home full time further isolated employees and really took a toll on mental health, too.

In 2023, I think you’re going to see a lot more employees taking fitness classes with colleagues and more people wanting to train with work friends. These folks are seeking community. As a result, you’re going to see companies offering smaller, customized training environments, which will offer employees guidance, support, and that sense of community.

These personal or group training sessions will also help address another need I’m hearing about from clients and colleagues: the need for more than a physical workout. Employees are seeking a more holistic approach to their health with more personalized coaching. They’re wondering how they can get better sleep. They’re asking what their diet should look like. And they’re looking for ways to better manage stress. These smaller classes and individual trainings can get at all of that more effectively.

The last piece of this trend is wearables. We know that more than 20% of Americans are using wearables and constantly accessing the personalized data that comes along with those tools. So, I think we’ll see those employees work with their health coaches to start leveraging this data to help develop more tailored, personalized workouts that will help them increase efficiency and results.

Trend #2: Hybrid Memberships Go Mainstream

You probably heard this term in 2022, but maybe you’re a little unsure what it really means for your corporate wellness program.

No worries. “Hybrid memberships” are relatively new, so don’t feel bad if you don’t understand all the ins and outs just yet. These programs provide employees with a combination of corporate fitness center access, virtual fitness classes, and partnerships with local yoga, boxing, and Pilates studios.

With the three different types of access, employees can work out at their corporate gym, at home, or on the road when they’re traveling—all with the convenience of one membership rather than having to cobble it all together themselves. It’s the best of all worlds! And it’s bigger than just a brick-and-mortar fitness center; it’s a program.

The best way to explain how a hybrid membership works is by outlining an example. Take Kim. She’s an employee who works a hybrid schedule, visiting the office 3 days a week (Tuesday–Thursday) and working from home Mondays and Fridays. During her visits to the office, Kim works out at the on-site fitness center and lifts weights. She might even take a class from time to time, which she enjoys because she gets the chance to work out and chat with colleagues.

On Mondays and Fridays, when she works from home, Kim takes a virtual fitness class through an app that’s connected to the fitness center and the same staff she knows and trusts. She loves the flexibility this provides. And, over the weekend, she often takes a yoga class at a local studio that her employer contracts with via the hybrid health program. This hybrid program includes one part on-site fitness center, one-part virtual fitness class, and one part access to classes at various studios. And it allows her to work out where she wants, when she wants.

These hybrid memberships represent the next evolution of corporate wellness, and I think they’re really going to explode in popularity in 2023.

Trend #3: Outdoor Workouts Become a Big Thing

A recent survey by the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry and McKinsey & Company asked: In which sports/physical activity categories do you expect to see a lasting increase in participation vs. pre-COVID-19? Of the 12 categories listed as options, 84% of survey participants selected “outdoor activity” as their number one choice. We’ll see that stat play out in a big way in 2023.

In fact, in 2022, we already saw it begin! One of our clients, a leading insurance company, invested in a mobile open-air fitness trailer that gets its employees outside daily. Combined with programming delivered by on-site fitness professionals, this outdoor program is booming, providing employees with both physical and mental health benefits.

This company was on the bleeding edge. I think we’ll see a whole lot more of this in the year ahead because, plain and simple, employees want to get outside and work out.

Think of the mental health benefits alone. How does it feel to work out with the sun on your face? I think we’ll see many companies jump on this trend this year.

Those are the trends I see happening based on my interactions and conversations with friends, colleagues, and clients. But, like I said, I don’t have all the answers. I’m sure many other trends will pop up in the next 12 months. I just look forward to watching it all play out—and helping our clients experiment with some of these trends when it makes sense.

Ann Wyatt is Chief Client Success Leader at HealthFitness, a Trustmark company.

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