HRE soundbite: ‘Virtual wellbeing is here to stay’

With employees stuck at home due to the pandemic–far away from onsite fitness centers at their workplaces, and avoiding the gyms they used to frequent–a growing number of employers are turning to virtual fitness options to help workers stay fit.

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“The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated a change that was already taking place in the fitness world. People are realizing they can complete a challenging workout on their own schedule,” says Jen Zygmunt, chief revenue officer of Wellbeats, a wellness company with a virtual on-demand benefit offering for employers. The company says it’s seen a significant uptick in employers and employees using their platform since the pandemic began.

“That’s been a significant benefit when gyms were closed. As recently as late April, a majority of Americans said [fitness] clubs should not reopen, and half said they would not return if facilities did reopen. Couple that with the fact that many employers are considering making work-from-home the new norm, and it’s clear that virtual wellbeing is here to stay,” she says.

In addition to adding wellness tools and platforms that provide employees with on-demand access to fitness classes and other wellness components like meditation and nutrition, some companies–including Pinterest and Best Buy–have moved their regular onsite fitness classes online to continue to provide workers those benefits during the pandemic.

“Employers continue to embrace virtual fitness as a way to engage employees in their physical and emotional wellbeing,” Zygmunt says.

Stay tuned for a feature story on virtual fitness and wellness later this month on

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Kathryn Mayer
Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s former benefits editor and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered benefits for the better part of a decade, and her stories have won multiple awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and honors from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the National Federation of Press Women. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver.