Screen-Shot-2014-07-28-at-11.22.29-AM-e1406560988415“Like many a Fitbit owner, I spend excessive amounts of time tracking my steps on the Fitbit dashboard. One day, I wandered over to the corporate wellness section of the website, and saw an interesting statistic: Companies with worksite wellness programs experience an 8% increase in employee productivity,” Laura Vanderkam writes for Fast Company.

“It sounds impressive, but this stat (attributed to a 2005 National Business Group on Health report), raised questions. Any wellness program? Any company? Productivity is tricky.”

“Many salaried workers don’t know how many hours they work; many people don’t directly generate revenue. Years ago, while writing a piece on telecommuting, I kept hearing secondhand that at X company, telecommuters are 25% (or 30% or 40%) more productive than other employees. Then I’d call X company, and they’d deny it. As one spokeswoman told me, if they knew some employees were 25% more productive than others, don’t you think they’d act on that?”

“So I wondered: Is the usual assertion–that wellness programs boost productivity–true or not?”