Every year, the number of companies that adopt workplace wellness increases. The idea is to reduce the loss of productivity due to health-related employee absenteeism, to reduce the insurance premium costs for employees (In the US, this number was close to $6000 in 2016, employee contribution being $1200) and to curb lifestyle diseases in general.
Conventionally, for workplace wellness, organizations conduct exercise sessions or yoga classes, provide healthier meals, organize programs for fighting obesity, smoking cessation etc. for helping their employees get fitter or healthier, either in-house or with the help of third party vendors or companies.
Several companies and vendors leverage technology to provide services such as booking workout sessions, arranging health checkups, counting calories etc as workplace wellness solutions. The web or mobile applications are the most commonly used modes of delivery for engaging employees of the organization in workplace wellness activities
With technology playing a significant, growing role in workplace wellness - advances in technology directly affect how workplace wellness is executed or implemented - going from offline to online to mobile.
This brings up the newest trend in consumer tech - chatbots.
Chatbots are application programs that represent a business and provide utility or services over chat messengers. They have made it extremely easy to interact with businesses and avail their services without having to install apps or navigate websites - everything happens over chat.
The question is - can chatbots be used for workplace wellness?
With chatbots, there is no need for learning new user interfaces or complicated dashboards, just the familiar chat UI. This causes the drop out rate attached to the learning process of a new app/website, generally averaging at 77% of initial users in the first 3 days, to reduce drastically. This works really well in case of corporate wellness, as without technological inhibitions, there is a higher participation, which means the higher amount of fun and invariably results in the success of the corporate wellness program.
For any wellness program to be a success, it becomes absolutely necessary to focus on two basic factors - guidance & engagement. Bots can be easily leveraged to provide guidance on both the nutrition as well as the exercise fronts and inculcate the ability in people to make healthier choices by themselves. On the other hand, people can participate in simple fitness activity challenges that help them adopt a more active lifestyle through gamification and healthy competition. The best part is, all of this happens in the form of the most basic activity anyone can perform with present day technology - Chatting!
Through this level of simplicity, it is easier to make long lasting lifestyle changes - no matter how hectic the lifestyle or busy the schedule.
Another big win for a chatbot in this domain is that it can adapt to users. Chatbots learn. With the advent of artificial intelligence, chatbots have the ability to learn from its users and customize their experience based on their preferences. So every employee can be a part of the same corporate wellness program but the bot can tweak it for them while adhering to a common set of guidelines. This makes a participant’s experience far better than what conventional apps or websites or dashboards can offer.
The flexibility, convenience, and power offered by chatbots make them a promising concept. While the full potential of chatbots is yet to be tested, there is no doubt that chatbots are the next level in mobility and the stage is set for chatbots to revolutionize Corporate Wellness.