Article: How technology is enabling new age employee wellness programs

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How technology is enabling new age employee wellness programs

Here are some strategies to make your employees healthy and fit to perform at their optimum. Read and implement.
How technology is enabling new age employee wellness programs

We have a large number of millennials in our workforce. They are a lot more conscious about fitness than their elder colleagues.

They opt for fitness programmes that suit their individual character and lifestyle. So, organizations are accordingly adapting to the needs of their workforce. Setting up a fitness center in the work premises or offering corporate memberships in a gym has become a norm for many companies. There are some who do not like to sweat it out in the gym but still would like to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

For them, dietary consultations, Yoga or Reiki classes are held. The cafeteria menu is getting revamped with healthier snacks and meals with less fats and more dietary fibers. Annual medical check-ups and health camps are being organized by companies in their premises to help the employees keep a tab on their health. Companies are going out of their way to encourage their employees to participate in marathons and blood donation camps. With taxi aggregators available in the market, companies are now encouraging their employees to avail car-pooling and bike pooling services for daily commute.

Technology has traditionally been responsible for making our lives comfortable. We have been able to achieve more output in less time, as well as using lesser resources. Speed of doing things has increased drastically. As a result, there is a severe pressure to outperform, which has the undesirable impact of technology on our physical and mental health. 

“As individuals respond differently to external stimuli, their needs of wellness are accordingly unique. Thus, the approach of company-wide wellness program has lost its sheen. Technology is playing a role in providing customized healthcare solutions.”

Connected wearables, fitness bands, and smart watches have not only been commonplace, they have become a necessary accessory for many. The emergence of AI (Artificial Intelligence) has been a boon to the lethargic individuals, who can now use apps to predict and suggest them the right amount of calorie to be burnt and the type of food to be consumed to maintain a healthy body.

Furthermore, the strides in the field of IoT (Internet of Things) have been further encouraging, as it helps to take the functionality of the fitness apps a notch higher. The app connects to the refrigerator at home to know what food there is in the refrigerator and suggest recipes based on it, or help place order from the local convenience store. The ideal life that connected lifestyle promises is yet to be tested on large scale. But yes, they seem to be positive developments in the field of well-being.

Moreover, some apps gamify the process and help build a community of users. They can showcase their achievements, compete with peers and groups and get recognition in the social media. These indirectly play on the psyche of the users and prompt them into action. Gamification of wellness activities is playing a positive role in their adoption.

Are Apps the only way out?

“Leading a lifestyle that brings calmness and positivity is a personal choice. It takes a significant amount of personal character to adopt healthy practices. An employer can create an environment, apps can help, wearables and similar technology can enable. However, the action of walking, running, staying away from unhealthy food and lifestyle has to be carried out by the individual. This cannot be outsourced to anyone!”

Last but not the least, organizations with character and visionary leadership can only build an environment that boosts employee wellness. No amount of apps, fitness clubs and healthy snacks are going to help if the leaders in the organization do not walk the talk. They need to set the tone around wellness. They need to openly talk about it, recognize achievers and appreciate behaviors of managers who run their teams without distress. It has to be imbibed into the culture of the company. Fundamentals remain constant, even if technology has taken many leaps forward!

Great organizations care for employee wellness. They demonstrate their belief through the character of their leaders and leverage all possible avenues to encourage employee well-being.

Topics: Culture, Employee Relations, Life @ Work, Technology

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