HR Technologist | Rhucha Kulkarni | Technology Ushers in a New Wellness Era
There is a huge trend in enhancing employee wellness, be it physical, emotional or even spiritual health. Organizations have realized that a healthy and happy employee is an indispensable asset—someone who performs well and is likely to contribute for the long term. With work pressure and expectations increasing day by day, stress and burnout are the realities of the corporate world. More and more importance is being placed on staying fit and fine, and a slew of corporate fitness programs have been invented. Organizations are viewing employee wellness not just from a productivity lens, but also as a benefit, doled out for better engagement and retention.
Yet, introducing a wellness program is not always easy. Even with the trendiest of program designs, participation can be low. Employees may shy away from such programs due to lack of time and interest. It is, therefore, important to make it fun and exciting, something that employees look forward to. Technology can come to the aid in this respect, by making wellness an anytime and every time agenda. Here is what you can use:
The cool fitness wearables of today’s age are not just useful devices, but fashion accessories at that. Usage in America is huge and is only set to grow in future. Brands and products like Fitbit, Garmin, Jawbone, and Misfit help monitor various fitness metrics such as steps taken, calories burnt, heart rate, etc. Some also track overall wellbeing by measuring sleep cycles and food intake. Employers can use wearables to enhance their wellness programs by offering them at a subsidized rate to employees. They can also organize wearables-driven events such as step contests or triathlons to encourage movement.
Gamification is a sure-fire fun way to get employees moving. If we remember Pokémon Go, we can relate to its phenomenal potential in driving wellness. People who would earlier have been couch potatoes got up and set out to find the perfect Pokémon. Organizations can take a cue from this and build their own games to get their people to exercise. A gamification-led wellness program should have three things in place: rules, rewards, and social interaction. Put in place exciting constraints and challenges, and rules to be abided. Have a monthly or a quarterly incentive program to encourage participation (both individual and team), and get people talking and sharing about it on the company’s communication channels.
3. Mobile Apps
Employees want access to health programs/initiatives at all times. A mobile app is a great way to achieve that, and a number of health-related mobile apps are out there. Headspace is a mental health app that guides the user through meditation and yoga. Nutrition apps are abundant to help users count calorie intake and thereby eat healthy. Employers can encourage employees to use such apps by creating interactive campaigns around them.
4. Social media
Social is definitely the way to create a trend. Employers who want to create a trend of wellness must, therefore, turn to social media, both internal and external. A social media strategy can be made to include wellbeing as a priority. HR can use Facebook groups, specially designed social apps, and wellness forums for sharing the latest news and tips on being fit. Some of the key elements employers must consider are peer coaching, friendly competition, group support, and social accountability.
Technology can be a great enabler and encouragement, especially for the employee of today who is always tuned into the latest tweet and the Facebook post. It can create a lasting impression and an underlying “pull” for employees to get fit, physically and emotionally.