When you’re brainstorming ideas for improving workplace wellness, consider the advantages of wearable technology. If you use this popular tech creatively to encourage your employees to live healthier lives, you’ll not only improve morale, but you’ll give your business a reputation for being cutting-edge. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Look at the Numbers
Wearables are becoming more common each year. In 2014, 8 million activity-tracking wristbands were on track to ship to buyers, according to CIO, and this number is expected to jump to more than 45 million by 2017. Along with this trend, more than 13 million wearables are estimated to be part of employee wellness programs by 2018. Wellness programs driven by wearables are very effective at controlling costs and improving health, and if you start incorporating activity wearables into your work culture now, you’ll be ahead of the curve.
Some wearables offer features that can pick up on habits, helping the user find ways to compensate when something goes awry. For example, UP by Jawbone combines motion data with cloud-based software to offer insights about your health. If you’re trying to lose weight and don’t get enough sleep, the app might review your patterns and see that you’re likely to be less active that day, so it’ll recommend a high-protein breakfast to compensate. These types of helpful suggestions can lead to increased productivity and alertness during the workday.
Joining Workplace Wellness Programs
Some wearables are designed to be incorporated into workplace wellness programs. With Fitbit, you can create an online store where your employees buy their wearable of choice and are automatically enrolled in your wellness program.
According to Fitbit’s blog, your employees might get really excited about the program if you add competition. For example, you can hold a contest to see who most often takes the stairs instead of the elevator, or offer an incentive for the person who takes the most steps every week, such as a free healthy meal. You could even add some more compelling awards, such as extra time off. To know which incentives your employees value most, conduct an anonymous survey for ideas. Don’t forget, however, to hold contests that are doable for employees of all physical capabilities.
Another interesting development from incorporating wearables into the workplace is building a sense of camaraderie — to the point that employees may start crowdsourcing their health, CIO reported. For example, when cloud-consultancy firm Appirio started a program dubbed CloudFit, employees began sharing health tips with each other. They even coordinated workout schedules, planned marathons and crowdsourced a healthy-eating cookbook.
Activity-tracking wearables are wonderful tools for improving employee morale, productivity and health. Just remember that you shouldn’t force participation; instead, simply encourage involvement by offering compelling incentives and fun group activities.
Stephanie Dwilson has extensive experience providing expertise on topics including health, law and marketing. She’s a science journalist published by Fox News, a marketing expert and an attorney with expertise in personal injury law. She’s also a small business expert featured by Businessweek and Millionaire Blueprints magazine and has worked as a marketing consultant for ministries and as a PR lead for one of the largest churches in America.