For some time now, companies of all sizes have invested in workplace wellness programmes. At face value, it makes a great deal of sense. Healthy, happy employees are almost always more productive and less likely to move across to a competitor. Companies meanwhile can save on insurance, freeing up money to invest elsewhere. Increasingly, the people behind these wellness programmes are turning to technology as they look to get the most out of them.
That’s hardly surprising, when you have to rely on people to tell you whether or not a wellness programme is working, you’re not always going to get accurate answers. With the right technology though, you can get a much more accurate gauge of what’s going on.
But how should you go about integrating technology into your wellness programme?
While every company is, of course, different, there are few general rules worth following.
Here they are:
Let your needs dictate the tech
Figuring out which technology to use in your wellness programme can be a major challenge. Should you give everyone wearables? Is it worth installing sensors around the office to measure where people like spending time? And when it comes to collating wellness data, what software should you use?
Ultimately, the tech you choose should be dictated by what you’re trying to achieve with your wellness programme.
If your company’s already filled with fit and healthy people, you can probably get away without fitness trackers. You might, however, want to invest in something like Celpax’s cloud-connected happiness measuring device.
Mine the (right) data
Accurate data is crucial to a good workplace wellness programme. More than anything else, it’s why technology now plays such an important role in so many corporate wellness programmes.
Ultimately though, you won’t get too far if you don’t know what kind of data you need to measure.
Again, this will change from company to company.
A good place to start however is the World Health Organisation’s Human Performance Questionnaire. Once you’ve got a baseline idea of your company’s overall wellness, you can hone in on the areas that need the most improvement.
Don’t be creepy
The trouble with having access to employee data is that it can become addictive, with companies wanting to monitor their staff’s every movement.
Do that though and your wellness programme will turn into a fear programme. As we’ve previously written, it’s all too easy for employee monitoring to cross the line from beneficial to creepy.
Remember, the goal here is employee wellness. You’re never going to achieve that if you start targeting individual workers based on their wellness data.
Keep it safe
If you think your employee wellness data is valuable, imagine how keen people outside of the organisation are to get their hands on it.
As this article in the Harvard Business Review points out, the health data used in wellness programmes could put employees’ privacy, and potentially even employment, at risk.
And there are significant risks. One California Law Review paper found that there aren’t nearly enough protections for employee health data. This, the authors note, leaves workers vulnerable to privacy invasion and employment discrimination.
Integrating technology into your employee wellness programme isn’t just about collecting and analysing data. It can also be a powerful tool when it comes to rewarding employees for behaving in positive ways.
A good example of how technology can be used to reward wellness comes from Singapore and Dubai-based startup Flabuless.
It automatically rewards employees who look after their fitness, and who take part in wellness initiatives with health-based rewards from a variety of food, health, and fitness partners.
One of the most important things to remember is that technology always evolves. If your wellness programme is to evolve too, you it’s vital that you keep abreast of what’s going on.