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The Emerging Trend of Wearable Fitness Technology for Employee Wellness

By Neesha Kanaga

Published 9 December 2020

It is impossible to deny the significance that employee well-being has on overall productivity in the workplace, no matter the type of business. A healthy person is more likely to be a productive and engaged employee compared to an unhealthy one.

The healthier the employee, the lower their rates of absenteeism – or even burnout-inducing presenteeism – and the lower their healthcare costs will be.

This is one of the reasons why corporate wellness programs have been in place for decades. Employee wellness offerings range from long-term activities like weight-loss coaching and smoking cessation programs all the way to simply offering healthy food options in vending machines and encouraging more movement in the office.

Today, many programs are aimed at preventing chronic diseases as well as managing and treating them. The underlying goal is to improve the employee’s quality of life, which in turn contributes to the success of the company.

What it comes down to is that the healthier an employee feels – physically, emotionally, and mentally – the more engaged, motivated, and productive workers they become.

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Corporate wellness programs are more important than ever

While fostering employee wellness is nothing new, in these uncertain times, corporate wellness programs have come to the forefront of corporations’ minds and are greater now than ever before.

As the world faces the harsh reality of a pandemic where home offices have become the norm, the spotlight has been turned on reducing the unhealthy and inactive lifestyles that employees may practice at home, which increase the likelihood of developing chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, obesity, and more.

Furthermore, poor diets, sedentary lives, and overall unhealthy choices all increase the risk factors for serious complications due to COVID-19.

Reducing the probability of developing these diseases isn’t just favorable from an employer’s standpoint; people, in general, are becoming increasingly interested in prioritizing their own health and well-being for the very same reasons.

From the tried-and-true practices of encouraging healthy nutrition and promoting in-office physical activity to providing on-site kitchen areas or establishing flexible working arrangements that help alleviate stress – all sorts of corporate wellness devices have been set into motion at the workplace.

There are even less obvious efforts that have been made in the past few years, like adding more plants to the office design, letting in more natural light, or even allowing napping. It is plain to say that employers can take advantage of the growing interest in wellness and use it to foster employee health as well as productivity.

But is there a way to take this trend one step further?

The answer could lie in many of the technological advancements saturating the fitness sector lately.

The pandemic has seen nothing short of increasing digital adaptation, and there are many key players attempting to break new ground in the fitness software market.

From app-based corporate wellness programs to linking your employees with insurance providers for the best possible health packages, software providers like Virtuagym have pretty much all bases covered when it comes to the corporate wellness game.

How healthcare technology can help

Most of the current approaches to improving employee health and well-being are specific to either weight loss, healthy eating, or exercise and movement. With such a narrow focus, we are unable to look at the big picture, hence leaving definite room for improvement.

This is exactly where healthcare technology comes into play. The emerging trend of wearable technology has already revolutionized the way people exercise and monitor their health, sleep, steps, calories, and stress levels. In fact, tech can even help track time spent being sedentary.

Users of wearable tech can follow almost any aspect of their health, fitness, or wellness. All of this information is at their fingertips – or on their wrist – at any given time. As a result, wearables have the potential to benefit the workplace as well.

With a solution like Virtuagym, both the employee as well as the employer can access the platform and evaluate their health and overall lifestyle to identify health risks, address underlying issues, and assist in making healthier diet and lifestyle choices.

Healthcare technology, like vital sign monitors, can measure things like weight, blood pressure, blood glucose, heart rate, temperature, and even hydration levels. In the times of COVID-19, this sort of tracking is more helpful than ever.

Benefits of using health tracking for your employees

First and foremost, the benefits of wearables and other health tracking technologies have the potential to help your employees reduce their risk of developing some of the chronic diseases listed above.

Since these technologies can encourage your employees to make better health choices, the risk of getting such diseases reduces dramatically – genetic factors willing. Beyond that, encouraging a healthier lifestyle has mental health and emotional well-being benefits for the employee.

For the employer, healthier employees can easily translate to fewer sick days, improved work performance, employee effectiveness, and cost savings.

The benefits for your business extend far beyond cost-effectiveness in that they can foster a healthy workplace culture, leading to greater employee productivity and better connections as a workforce.

Wearables can even be used to stimulate a little friendly competition among employees, which has the potential to increase collaboration and incentivize colleagues to perform at their best.

Are you ready to take the next step in your employee wellness program?

Neesha Kanaga

Neesha is a copywriter and wanderer who currently finds herself bound to the weather-challenged Netherlands due to the unforeseen circumstances of 2020.

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