wearable technology

Health & Wellbeing

Wearable technology in a healthy workforce

wearable technology

New You, New Tech

Getting healthier is a priority for many seeking to make a change in their lifestyle. The increase in budget gyms, fitness dvds, every diet under the sun and the latest ‘superfood’ has the majority of us excited and optimistic for a short while. However the sad truth is, most of us will soon be back into our usual routine.

According to the Guardian 63% of UK adults fail to make a change to their lifestlye, and 43% of those who did fail, failed within less than one month, with the others falling shortly after three months. So what can be done to help you and your workforce stay on track.
(Source: Bupa/ComRes November 2015).

What does wearable technology offer?

There might be something different that can help. The launch of wearable technology in the health and wellbeing sector has seen a huge increase in popularity. From Fitbits, to Apple Watches and Jawbones to Garmin Watches, the list of wearable technology is long and growing.

Wearable devices can capture vast amounts of biometric data, from heart rate and health risks to food trackers and activity schedules. The possibilities seem to be endless with a continuous growth and expenditure, who knows what will soon be trackable.

What’s interesting is the amalgamation into the corporate environment. In reports by Wearable Wireless Devices in Enterprise Wellness Programs, ABI research predicts that by 2018 at least 13 million wearable devices will be integrated into health and wellbeing practices.

Effective ways to engage your staff

With supporting apps such as Bupa Boost, Google Fit, Strava, Fitbit and many more, tracking wellness data has never been so simple. Most of the fitness apps available allow for you to invite friends or colleagues to organise competitions regarding steps, distances, calories etc. and promoting a competitive edge to your health and wellbeing schemes can produce an added incentive and increase engagement. Even without promoting a so called prize, just the bragging rights can be enough to get employees up and out of their seats.

Personally, we’ve seen a massive increase in enthusiasm for healthy living at Salary Exchange. Most, if not all of our staff, have started to engage with wearable technology. Some acquired Apple Watches through our employee benefits schemes and others have invested in Fitbit devices. Employees have been setting their own personal goals including weight loss, active minutes and even water intake. With the introduction of the apps mentioned above colleagues have even been able to set up internal competitions and challenges. There’s been a massive change in our lunch time activity too, at least 80% of the workforce now regularly move from their desks at lunch time to go – for the very least – a walk.

Creating memorable experiences or adding a health theme to your employee communications will also boost engagement with health and wellbeing schemes. Include some healthy living information to give them food for thought too. Communications should be eye catching and engage to get staff to take note. Internal branding is also an integral part of many successful campaigns and helps strengthen the associations between benefits and employers.

Case Study

When E.on held mental health roadshows across their offices during 2012, with the aim to reduce the stigma involved around mental health issues, they produced what was called a ‘Headshed’. The campaign was centered around the Headshed, which was placed in the grounds of the offices and filled with information about mental health issues. The Headshed also contained information on the benefits and types of support available to E.on employees.

Motivation all year round

Those employees willing to make a change and stick to a healthier lifestyle should take things step by step. A proactive campaign and the introduction of wearable technology in the workplace will undoubtedly help to keep employees on track and promote a healthier lifestyle. Follow up the internal campaigns with new communications and memorable experiences year round and the Fitbit on your wrist will soon become as common as the every day watch.