Workplace wellness programs may seem like a product of modern businesses, but they can actually be traced back more than a century. Workplace wellness programs have existed since major corporations began cropping up in the late 1800s, but today’s wellness programs aren’t like your grandma’s  they’ve evolved over the decades to better meet employee and company needs.

To show how corporate wellness programs have transformed over the years, Limeade, a corporate wellness technology company, compiled this infographic. It serves as a timeline for major innovations in workplace wellness that we still use today.

Some major breakthroughs include:

  • Henry Ford introduces the 40-hour work week in 1926
  • Employee fitness centers become popular in the 1950s and 60s
  • Employers launch smoking-cessation programs in the 1970s
  • Johnson & Johnson is the first company to tie wellness programs to productivity and profitability in the 1980s

Check out the full infographic below to see how corporate wellness programs evolved from simple employee exercises to the targeted, holistic programs employers offer today.


To learn more about how to implement employee wellness initiatives, check out Aberdeen Group’s report, Wellness Programs: Look Better, Feel Better, and Save Money. 




Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and HR technologies. She is the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle.

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