Having a clearly laid out workplace wellness plan is one of the most effective means of having an engaged and productive team in any organization.
The workplace should provide employees with opportunities for better long-term health, including health-promoting activities or organization-wide policies implemented to encourage healthy behaviours among employees.
Some of the greatest barriers to having teams completely engaged in a workplace health program include:
- time constraints
- employee engagement
- privacy issues
- employees’ willingness to participate
Research shows that three out of five employees surveyed said they’d be inclined to participate in workplace wellness if employers used digital technology to do so (hardly a surprise, considering the workforce is now made up of so many tech-savvy Millennials and Gen Zers).
Wearables such as the Fitbit or the Apple Watch can help monitor stress levels and heart rates. They also aid in implementing fitness plans, so they can be a valuable tool in encouraging workplace health. Moreover, simply having access to apps on already existing smartphones can be effective as well.
Let’s take a look at nine ways technology is improving workplace wellness and health.
1. Increased productivity
12% of employees use wearables (such as the Apple Watch, Fitbit, and Jawbone) and 71% of those employees who use wearables said they that they are now more productive than ever.
2. Valuable data
Data gathered from wearables can help an organization make a business case for a wellness program or fine-tune one already in place. Wearables can provide employers with a vast amount of biometric data and help evaluate the return on investment—but only if employees consent to share this information.
3. Lowered absenteeism
Using fitness and health-related apps and/or wearables can help reduce employee absence due to health concerns, as well as increase work-life balance. Monitoring and evaluating real-time data of employee’s physical activity, sleep patterns, and stress levels can help employers evaluate the drivers of health risks to their employees, and potentially prevent long-term disability leaves.
4. Reduced stress levels
If bringing your dog to work to reduce employee stress levels isn’t an option (and we really think it should be an option!), then wearables that monitor activity levels combined with apps (like Pip) that help to decrease employee stress levels through interactive games, will lead to a more productive and healthy team.
5. Supportive company culture
Tracking eating habits, dietary plans, and lifestyle choices using apps such as Up® on Jawbone can help you create a stronger workplace culture, encourage supportive relationships, and boost team morale.
6. Cognitive agility
It’s not all about physical fitness—wellness means mental fitness as well. Some studies have found that playing a video game for an hour a day, may also lead to increased cognitive abilities.
7. More motivation
Using fitness wearables, such as Fitbit or Jawbone, can increase employees’ willingness to lead a healthier lifestyle. By following workout routines on apps such as Skimble Workout Trainer, employees may see improvements to health and lowered risks of chronic diseases.
8. Increased health awareness
Using wearables can decrease the sedentary lifestyle that often pervades present day working generations. With features such as the Activity app on the Apple Watch, employees can track their physical movements and set reminders to stand when sitting for long periods of time.
9. Business savings
Encouraging workplace health and fitness through the use of technology can decrease employer healthcare costs, especially in the face of rising premiums.
There may be the perception that the use of technology to monitor workplace health may actually be an invasion of privacy and lead to workplace monitoring. However, if this data is not misused, employers can manage expectations as well as foster positive results for their team.
The goal for any employer in implementing a workplace health and wellness plan should be to shift the mindset from acute care to preventative care. If employers can have a team focused on workplace health and take measures to limit chronic diseases and sedentary lifestyles, both employees and employers will win.
Looking for a better way to improve wellness in the workplace? Our all-in-one people platform helps Canadian businesses manage their teams, track time off, keep an eye on employee engagement, and much more. Book a free demo and see how Rise can help grow your business.