The focus on workplace wellness is here to stay. Healthy employees are more engaged, more productive, and help lower health care costs, so it’s in everyone’s best interest to promote workplace wellness. But did you know that technology and social networking are dramatically changing how we think about and support wellness in the workplace?
Read on to learn more about these important trends!
The Impact of Technology and Social Networking on Workplace Wellness
It’s the combination of technology and social networking that creates healthy employees says Alan Kohll, founder and CEO of TotalWellness. Group support, peer coaching, and social accountability are proven success factors for workplace wellness. Fitness technology allows for immediate feedback and social connection, and it’s that connection that encourages us to keep going and accomplish our goals.
Dr. Rajiv Kumar, founder and CEO of ShapeUp, notes that technology advances are revolutionizing workplace wellness. In “The Future of Workplace Wellness is Mobile, Social, and Wearable,” he writes that the revolution needs to happen faster.
“Most corporate wellness programs are still Web-based with no mobile access and rely on old-school tracking devices, such as digital pedometers. But employees themselves are leveraging smartphones, mobile apps, wearable and wireless devices in droves.”
To be successful, company wellness programs have to get in front of this trend, he writes. Kumar uses his own company—which he’s pleased has many healthy employees—as an example.
In 2013, ShapeUp rolled out a new wellness platform that enables participants to connect their own mobile apps and devices such as RunKeeper, Fitbit, Bodymedia and Fitlinxx to the company’s wellness platform. The data from their apps and devices automatically goes to a central site so they can view progress, participate in challenges, receive personal feedback, and earn rewards.
The program provides flexibility—employees can use the apps and devices they prefer—and promotes team-building—people can collaborate in their wellness efforts. And that’s the key, Kumar believes. Technology is a tool to create connections and it’s the connections that keep us going. It’s actually the combination of technology and social networking that will drive the future of success of workplace wellness programs.
“It’s what we’ve found to be the most powerful ingredient for engaging, effective and sustainable wellness programs.”
Alan Kohll shares with Evans his tips for creating that winning combination:
- Create fun team challenges—encourage employees to form teams and use their apps and devices to work together toward a common goal.
- Provide incentives to participate—it could be lower health premiums, paid time off, work from home time, or even a free healthy lunch.
- Make wellness part of company culture—allow breaks for a walk outdoors, or up and down stairs, or just to stretch. Remind workers to set alerts on their devices to remind them.
- Share results—a board in the break room could post accomplishments, for instance.
- Keep it voluntary—some employees might not want to join, and that’s their right. Providing wearable devices and making it fun will encourage participation, but it’s not for everybody.
Furthermore, Entrepreneur Magazine contributor Lisa Evans, in “Using Wearable Devices to Help Promote Employee Wellness,” writes that ABI Research reports 13 million wearable devices will be integrated into corporate-wellness plans over the next five years.
Technology and social networking form the future of workplace wellness and innovative employers are on board. Businesses that aren’t, Kumar notes:
“may find that their employees are already 10,000 steps ahead of them.”
Don’t fall behind. For healthy employees and a healthy workplace, embrace the new world of workplace wellness!
And for more information about how to engage, recognize and retain employees from HR experts, download our FREE guide to “The Top 20 Employee Engagement Blogs You Should Be Reading”.
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