Stephanie Dwilson

How Health Apps Can Increase Wellness Program Participation

Health apps are an effective tool when it comes to increasing your employees’ involvement in wellness and weight loss programs. According to the Harvard Business Review, employees typically want to participate in wellness programs, but may not because of inconvenience, lack of knowledge and similar concerns.

This is a common refrain in other studies, too. For example, the Society for Human Resource Management found that employees often shy away from wellness programs because of inconvenience, ignorance of the program or believing they can make the same changes on their own.

This is where health apps come into play. They can educate your employees about wellness programs and make participation more convenient and personalized. Here are a few options to consider:

Calorie-Tracking Apps

Some employees may skip weight loss wellness programs because they feel that the process is overwhelming. This is where calorie-tracking apps like MyFitnessPal help. This app lets you track the calories in the meals you prepare and consume. It also provides a huge database of foods found at restaurants, so you don’t have to guess how much you ate during your lunch out, either.

Step-Tracking Apps

Step-tracking apps make it simple for employees to see how much they’re moving each day. You can set up competitions and offer rewards to those who walk the most.

You can even look into step-tracking apps that link to charities, which provides an extra motivation. For example, Charity Miles lets you earn money for charities based on how far you walk or bike.

Fitness-Focused Wearables

Wearables are another way to make wellness participation convenient. Some wearables — such as those offered by Fitbit — can be tied directly into your wellness program. You can hold contests based on Fitbit stats and offer prizes like extra time off.

Other wearables like Jawbone provide health insights, including personalized suggestions. It can alert you that due to lack of sleep, you’re probably less active and need to compensate with a higher protein breakfast.

Apps that Focus on Short Breaks

You can overcome the convenience barrier by using software that let employees take short breaks while on the job. Hotseat is one app that ties two-minute breaks into an overall workplace wellness program.

The app schedules breaks into employees’ days and “nudges” them when it’s time to get up and move. Employees pick which type of activity they want to do, from climbing stairs to walking or even dancing. Employees can set up group challenges and compare their stats.

Mindfulness Apps

Small businesses would be wise to focus not just on employees’ physical health, but on their mental health, as well. Mindfulness meditation, for example, has many benefits, including reducing stress and anxiety, North Arizona University reports. Mindfulness apps are a way for employees to find out if meditation is a good fit for them. The Mindfulness App offers a tool with top reviews, and other apps like Headspace and Smiling Mind are also recommended.

Health apps provide an effortless, nonthreatening way to encourage greater employee participation in wellness programs. Start today to see a difference.