What’s that thing on your wrist…and why is it good for your wellness program?
If there’s one thing we know for sure—if you want to engage employees in wellness, you’ve gotta make your program relevant, convenient, fun and social. There’s one very cool way to nail all those birds with one stone: wearable fitness devices and mobile apps. We’re talking about those handy bits of technology – such as Nike+, Fitbit, Jawbone UP, RunKeeper and more – that track your steps, miles, minutes, calories, biometric data, even sleep.
You’ve seen them around and heard the buzz – in fact, with 40 million wearable sports, fitness and wellness devices expected to ship around the globe this year, you’re probably using one yourself. Here at Limeade, we’re big fans of wearables and apps, so much so that our platform now connects to more than 80 of them, allowing data to automatically upload so users can easily track their progress against goals and challenges. Our customers’ employees can use almost any device they choose to make the program easier and more fun, compete with their colleagues, receive immediate feedback and support and earn rewards through our platform.
Here are a three of our favorite ways to incorporate devices into your program:
1. Work them into your culture. If you have the budget, distribute devices to all employees – or offer a significant discount. Then give people reasons to use them by promoting healthy behavior: walking meetings, walking breaks, organized “midday slump runs” (much better than midday cupcake runs), impromptu plank challenges, you name it. If employees feel encouraged instead of guilty about taking time for wellness, they’re more likely to participate, have a blast and see results.
2. Create fun challenges for device and app users. Walking challenges – where you ask employees to track steps, miles or minutes – are practically made for this. You can focus on a short-term goal, like 150 minutes a week for six weeks, or a lengthier commitment, like 60 million steps a year (whoa!). You can also design challenges that use devices or apps to track diet, water, sleep, even mood. Form teams (departments love to compete against each other) and post results on a visible leaderboard to keep people motivated, engaged and excited.
Seattle University challenged employees to walk across the Puget Sound – more specifically, 300 miles, the distance from Olympia to Deception Pass and back. Employees had three months to complete the challenge and could earn 150 points. Bonus – the team with the highest average steps earned an additional 150 points.
3. Offer device- and app-based incentives. Since devices and apps make it easier for people to participate, they’re more likely to do so – and of course, this is great news for your program. Offer rewards to those who use their wearable device or mobile app to track and upload activity; points, gift cards, even a shiny new wearable device are all good bets.