Technology continues to change the way work is done and is reshaping the landscape of the wellness industry. As employers increasingly rely on technology better manage employees, engage them in wellness, and improve morale, they are looking for digital health solutions.
One of the key findings in the 2019 Workplace Wellness Trends Report by Shortlister of findings from 10 out of 12 largest employee benefits consultants in the US is that 66% of mid to large size employers are implementing or seeking for a wellness platform or mobile app to engage their employees.
With technology, the possibilities are endless because there are so many segments of wellness that a company can cover. For example, some companies only offer digital biometric solutions, while some offer apps to help employees with depression. Then there are some that are more comprehensive and offer modules covering each dimension of wellness.
Here are 3 ways wellness platforms are changing the industry for the better.
- Conduct Health Assessments & Biometric Screenings
A health assessment is a great way to get a baseline of a population's lifestyle and health risks. When that data is then combined with biometric screening data it can allow a user be educated on their results, get a personalized action plan, or even schedule a visit with a health provider, all within minutes.
- Educate and Raise Awareness
There are so many ways to educate employees about wellbeing, including the use of flyers and newsletters or hosting a lunch-n-learn. New wellness platforms now have customized content readily available through video, live-chats with experts, blog posts, and podcasts. These help employees understand the importance of behavior change and absorb the material in a fun way.
- Tracking Wellness Activities and Program Participation
This is the fun part! With the use of wearable devices such as a Fitbit, Garmin or even a smartphone, employees can now track their health. Some devices track sleep, steps, and even offer guided meditations. This allows a user to not only continuously track their activity, but also set personal goals, earn rewards, and even have some friendly competition within the office. On the other side, this is another tool that HR can use to see if a program is being used, or if users are engaging with the content and if it's beneficial to the company.
Is this only relevant to HR Staff?
While all this information may sound impressive to an employer, how can this help an emerging wellness professional?
About six years ago, once you entered the wellness space, you most likely were going to work for a company that only offered health coaching, consulting, or corporate workshops. Now with technology, people with a wide range of experience and backgrounds can be a part of the wellness industry in a new way. For example, if you're a software engineer you might join a team that has a digital solution to help reduce chronic disease; if you're a health coach some companies now offer virtual coaching that can be done remotely; if you're a graphic designer you can create the content that is used in the portals of wellness programs. Even if you're still interested in interacting directly with employees, offering workshops, or creating content, there's still a need within digital health companies.
All in all, the addition of these solutions enables more professionals to find their space in the wellness industry. The power of technology can give employees fun wellness programs at work, and provide tools to scale wellness offerings, research, and knowledge to thousands. Looking ahead for 2020 and beyond, there will be even more ways to combine tech savviness with old-fashioned human interaction to move the wellness industry in the right direction and improve the employee experience.
Romuald Antoine Jr., CPT, CHC
is a millennial engagement expert and author of the Ultimate Guide to Engaging Millennials, is the founder and CEO of One Stop Wellness, a workplace wellness company that helps organizations empower their employees to improve their lifestyle.