Three Simple Ideas to Create a Healthier Workplace

Leverage technology to create a workplace wellness program. 

September/October 2016

Creating a culture of wellness in your business can directly impact your bottom line. A recent study reported that 67% of workers said participation in wellness programs increased their engagement in their employer’s mission and goals. By making physical and mental well-being a priority, you and your employees will have fewer sick days and higher levels of productivity.

While corporate workplace wellness solutions—such as catered healthy lunches, on-site gyms and fitness program reimbursements—may not be an option for your business, you can more realistically implement workplace wellness by turning to technology.

Here are three ways you can leverage technology to create a culture of health today:

1. Purchase wearable fitness trackers for employees.

Laura Putnam, wellness consultant and author of Workplace Wellness that Works, explains how companies of all sizes are opting to purchase wearable fitness trackers for employees.

By purchasing the fitness trackers and using an app such as Stridekick, or creating a group for employees to join, you can prompt employees to begin counting their steps, tracking exercise and sometimes even counting calories or sleep hours.

Providing wearables is quickly becoming a popular perk for many organizations, because it has shown to improve physical health and promote weight loss, and the team mentality also aids in co-worker camaraderie and increased positive moods.

Cost: While some fitness bands can cost upward of $120, many trackers such as the Fitbit Zip ($45), the Jawbone UP MOVE ($29.95) and the Misfit Flash ($29.99) are much more affordable and still get the job done.

2. Offer guided meditation breaks.

Wellness extends beyond physical fitness to mental and emotional health as well. Tanya Korpi Macleod, president and CEO of Macleod & Co., a five-employee marketing agency based in Minneapolis, strongly recommends taking meditation breaks throughout the day to counteract these productivity slumps and boost moods.

Macleod and her team use Headspace, an app rapidly growing in popularity, on a daily basis. Through the app, each employee can take individual breaks as needed, rather than having to schedule a timed group session. The app provides short (10- or 15-minute), guided meditations.

Since she has implemented this technique, Macleod has noticed both instant and cumulative reductions in overall stress levels, as well as a decrease in the amount of sick days her employees need.

Cost: Headspace works with both Apple and Android, with two subscription options—$12.99 per month, or $94.99 per year. Additional, optional costs may include office yoga mats, which can range anywhere from $10 to $50. To contain costs and resources, you can give employees a stipend for the app and a specified amount of free time to spend meditating each week.

3. Install MOVE hotspots.

MOVE hotspots are Bluetooth sensors hung in the workplace that send “nudges” to employees’ smartphones reminding them to do something healthy, such as take a 5- minute walk or do some stretches.

A free alternative to a MOVE hotspot is Teemo, a fitness adventure game for iPhone. The Teemo app links up to nine people on a team who receive micro-workouts that can be done anywhere. As the individuals complete the activities, the team score rises. Or, try the app Hotseat, which syncs with employees’ calendars and sends nudges with fitness level and workplace-appropriate activities throughout the day.

Cost: While the MOVE hotspot initial startup and four-week challenge costs approximately $2,500, depending on the size of the business, monthly fees for hotspots are $29/month for one hotspot, and $58/month for two hotspots. One hotspot includes 20 user licenses.

To make any of these wellness initiatives effective, it is critical that participation starts at the top. A fit and healthy owner is one of the most important assets any business can have.

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Top Takeaway

Skip the expensive trackers and invest in moderately priced fitness wearables for you and your staff. Not only will employees appreciate the perk, the shared experience of step-counting, stair-climbing and other activities will help you create a culture of wellness.