How Tech is Driving Workplace Wellness & the Benefits for Your Team
The well-being industry continues to boom each year and, with it, the emphasis on workplace wellness. This extends beyond the basics, considering all elements of the working environment and how it impacts the employee. Factors such as the physical environment, safety and security, workload and office dynamics all fall under the umbrella of understanding wellness, based on the notion that the individual’s well-being within the business remains a priority and, therefore, allows them to maintain a high working standard.
Innovative technology brands offer solutions to help employees control fluctuations in stress levels, mood changes and productivity dips. This trend has developed from the growing consumer need to manage their health and take control of their own well-being, made possible by technological advancements in smartphone apps. In 2018, self-care apps stood as Apple’s hottest app trend , generating a staggering $32 million from mindfulness and well-being apps. Due to this, it is no surprise technology continues to drive well-being in the workplace.
Integrating smart solutions, for work related issues, has the potential to transform the working environment as we know it. In recent years, brands have taken notable steps to create relaxed physical working spaces for their employees. Just one example is the Google office, which now takes the form of a child’s play centre with a slide, bright colours and themed rooms. The technology giant states this design aims to “stimulate creativity and ultimately encourage social interaction with members from structurally separate teams” (Workspace design, 2018). However, in 2019 and moving into 2020, it will not be enough to simply put colourful chairs in your office and hope for better results.
Technology is now driving this forward with personalised health-care at the forefront of health-tech innovation. The advancements in smartphones, and a growing trust in technology, means it is now easier than ever for individuals to take control of their health. But what does this mean for businesses? Ultimately, it means employers are able to encourage motivation, productivity and stress-relief.
Here are just 4 examples of technology brands that aim to boost motivation, morale and productivity:
- Calm – As a 5-star relaxation and meditation app, Calm provides users with a brief escape from an intense lifestyle. With a choice of relaxing scenes, soundtracks and stories the app allows its users to listen to material that will aim to reduce stress. This is a great tool for employees close to deadlines who sit in the same position for long periods of time.
- BetterSpace – The BetterSpace app has proven extremely successful within corporate teams. Recent reports proved how “they are achieving incredibly high metrics of an 80% engagement rate where the average Employee Assistance Program (EAP) falls well below 40%” (Oppenheim, 2019 in Forbes). Working directly with a known well-being brand will allow your employees more freedom when it comes to when and how they utilise the platform.
- Headspace meditation pods – Headspace pods are edgy and innovative, and fit with the current movements in office interiors. Headspace meditation pods are small wooden spaces carved into interesting designs that aim to promote simple and easy meditation techniques. Currently, with 500 corporate clients, Headspace stands as the most sought after meditation platform to offer to employees.
- Wearables – like the infamous Fitbit, have transformed how individuals monitor their physical health and well-being. Letting them keep track of aspects such as step count, heart rate and calorie intake.
Focusing on prevention, rather than cure
If you really want to go above and beyond to instill a healthy working culture and more satisfied employees, you can:
- Have a medical professional on-site for seasonal flu vaccinations, basic health checks and education. This only needs to happen on a quarterly basis to make a significant impact on the general health and well-being of your employees.
- Encourage general health by filling up fruit bowels around the office to supplement the standard water cooler. Some companies take the trendier approach and have bar snacks in the communal area, such as nuts and raisins.
- Jump on the walking meetings trend, and have your meetings while you move. The Harvard Business Review cites walking meetings as a mechanism for more creative thinking and open and honest employee communication, over and above the benefits of getting in motion.
- Install a shower, as a once-off cost, for employees who run or cycle to work. This allows them to be active and save on transport costs and will drastically affect their temperament during the day.
- Encourage good mental health by hiring a councilor and/or training managers to identify the signs of common mental health issues. While you are not directly responsible for managing an employees health, you can make suggestions or subsidize treatment, where your resources allow for it.
- Consider increasing leave time. Some companies offer about 4 days of additional leave varying all the way to leave whenever you want it. This might seem like too relaxed an approach but informal time off work can help your employees be more productive and solidify trust. You can also add flexitime to your workplace processes to help mitigate transport, traffic and alertness challenges.
- Create an environment conducive to productive stress, as opposed to over-stimulation. Water features, art and functional interior design can affect employee temperament and stimulation levels. However, too relaxing an environment and you could create a lethargic affect.
- Make standing and cycle desks available to your employees. This is an easy and cost-effective way to keep them alert and engaging their muscles throughout the day.
- Ban eating at the computer. In doing so, you’ll make lunchtime more of a group activity, encourage bonding and nudge employees to get up from their desks to take a breather.
What does a business of the future look like?
A business of the future will maintain a high level of work-place wellness – adopting these or alternative technologies to share the benefits with employees. The working world is evolving, adapting to individual working styles and using spaces that are designed to spark innovation and creativity, so why should the same attention be lost in employee mental well-being?
Ensure your workplace wellness measures are effective by continuously communicating with your team. Get regular feedback from them, after all what works for some may not work for others. Remember, a business of the future does not stand still in one area while the rest move forward. Technological advancements continue to modernise work-place wellness, how will you modernise your approach?