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Corporate Fitness will have its comeback in 2023, according to HR Daily Advisor.

We all know the pandemic did a number on employees. More specifically, it isolated people from colleagues and friends at work. Over the last three years those relationships have taken a big hit. However, now we’re starting to see two things: 1) Employers are (slowly) starting to bring employees back into the office (i.e., Disney’s recent announcement); and 2) Employees are looking to reconnect with those colleagues and develop a stronger sense of community in the workplace.

This is all lining up to trigger a big trend I believe we’ll see in 2023: The comeback of the corporate fitness center.

Yes, I think the corporate fitness center will make a big comeback this year. And I also think it will become a hub of sorts for the modern-day employee when it comes to health and wellness. Sure, you’ll still see employees getting their garden-variety workouts in each week at the fitness center. But you’ll also see them signing up for more small group training sessions. Registering for “Buddy Sessions.” Some will even be talking to registered dieticians about more holistic health and wellness.

You’re already seeing this in the broader health and wellness industry. Boutique and specialized fitness gyms were gaining a lot of steam prior to the pandemic, but it has really hit a new gear recently primarily due to their ability to create that sense of community and establish that “tribe” culture of people working together and holding one another accountable to reach their goals.

A corporate gym designed to engage its users.

Corporate fitness centers will fill that same need in 2023.

We’re seeing a huge surge in employees signing up for more personal and small-group training programs. I think a big part of what’s driving this is the need and desire for people to reconnect and create those bonds with fellow employees. In fact, we heard one employee at one of our client sites recently say: “My workout motivation starts in the fitness center. I love my gym friends and the staff! We all need community, and the fitness center community is so important to me. I did not realize how much I missed being physically present in the fitness center these past two years.”

At many of the corporate fitness centers we help manage the engagement of our personal training has exceeded pre-pandemic levels. What’s more, we’re discovering that employees are looking for more than just physical training during these sessions. We know we’re serving savvier fitness consumers who now have expectations of what a corporate fitness club membership should include, and we’re incorporating more facets of wellbeing into these interactions like stress management, sleep education and nutrition basics.

Corporate fitness centers will serve as “hubs” for employees.

This includes collaborations with on-campus clubs and organizations. For example, we recently had the opportunity with our client and their corporate fitness center in North Carolina to partner with multiple clubs for their “Spirit Week” and annual 5K run.

Corporate fitness centers are getting creative in how they deliver services to employees.

Again, the center is the hub employees turn to for all things well-being. Enter: “hybrid memberships”. These relatively new memberships give employees the chance to tailor their well-being to their schedule.

For example, if your employees are working hybrid schedules, they’re likely coming into the office 2-3 days a week. During those days, they’re probably working out at the on-site fitness center where they get a great club experience, but also some social opportunity as well. However, when they’re working from home, thanks to these new hybrid memberships, they can now visit local yoga, boxing and Pilates studios to sneak in workouts when it makes sense for them. These inclusive fitness networks are providing variety and convenience all in one.

The combination of on-site workouts, gym networking and at-home workouts is the model we are seeing—with the corporate fitness center as the hub of all this well-being activity.

The Bottom Line

The overarching theme you’re seeing here is simplicity. Whether employees are on-site, remote or hybrid—keeping things simple and fun for them is key. I know from experience that more is not more when it comes to benefits, it’s about relevance and keeping communication and access simple. Which is why we’re about to see a very big year for the corporate fitness center.

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