The world of work has changed in ways we could never have anticipated. The flexibility to do our jobs outside of the office or at home, previously a rarity for most people, suddenly became the ‘new normal’ for employees across the globe. Even now many of us are remote working from home, in flexible workspaces or at a limited capacity in the office.
The role of technology was crucial in enabling businesses of all shapes and sizes to first quickly acclimatise to these changes and to then run as efficiently as possible without a physical office space. It has also been vital in dealing with an inevitable consequence of remote working – the risk of employees not feeling as connected with colleagues, teams and one’s wider company.
Indeed, this potential for employee isolation has at one time highlighted the importance of corporate wellness, whilst also making it in theory more challenging to deliver the kind of effective employee wellness programmes required.
Fortunately, the digital tools now at the fingertips of organisations are making it easier to build engaging digital programmes to support the physical and mental wellness of employees. We now have the opportunity to create wellness programmes that offer richer, more varied and most importantly more personalised wellness content.
There is real value to be found in a personalised approach not just as a short-term fix for these uncertain times but as long-term solution to the changing needs of employees.
The means to motivation
The modern day employee isn’t that much different from the modern day fitness user who, with technology democratizing the industry by making fitness content more accessible, is increasingly looking for a more tailored experience where they can workout whenever, however and wherever they want.
Similarly, employees can be motivated to engage with a diverse and inclusive wellness programme if it offers a plethora of different types of content that they can tap into when they want, based on their own personal needs. For example, a company mobile employee wellness application could provide a range of home workouts, meditations, step challenges or even food and nutrition tracking.
Facilitated by technology, a business can offer more choice. This means more support, enhanced motivation to create better habits and ultimately healthier and happier employees.
Tracking your progress
We now have the means to end the fragmented employee wellness experience and provide these personalised individual journeys in a way that was a lot harder not so long ago. This includes through wearable health technology, for which uptake is only going to increase. These devices can be easily integrated with a customizable employee wellness app.
An employee can now track and analyze their health wherever they are and not just within the four walls of the office workplace – in the same way that a person is no longer restricted to their physical gym. The fact that one can now use wearables to monitor and measure progress and help set their own goals is vital in keeping them empowered to remain committed to a corporate wellness programme.
Different employees, different experiences
If our workplaces are different, why aren’t our wellness programmes? An organisation also doesn’t hire the same people, and indeed bringing together diverse skill-sets, different past careers and backgrounds are proven to be extremely beneficial. If we value this diversity, then why should employees all receive the exact same wellness offering?
A personalised approach acknowledges the different journeys employees go on and makes them feel more valued. Moving forwards, we’re likely to see an increasingly hybrid approach to work, with people being given the option of working in an office or remotely and at different times. A one size fits all approach will not make the cut in solving an increasingly complex wellness puzzle. A varied one, underpinned by technology, can.
Building a community
Having personalised wellness journeys for employees does not mean having various siloed approaches with disconnected people. Personalisation increases engagement and as engagement is collaborative, this means an opportunity to construct a wider wellness community that can further drive participation and have the added advantage of helping people to feel better connected. With current restrictions and future uncertainty on our ability to do things in person in large groups, this digital community building is invaluable.
Bringing this community together with a simple employee app that embeds different offerings is a surefire way to not just boost our desire to engage with physical and mental fitness at work, but to enrich our interactions and bonds with colleagues.
Communicating a wider culture
Last but by no means least is how useful a personalised approach can be in helping individual employees in comprehending a company culture that is linked to its corporate wellness philosophy rather than separate to it.
For example, if a company’s values are shaped around building relationships, developing skills and supporting one another, then giving people the chance to engage with their corporate wellness and each other in a myriad of ways can strengthen a feeling of belonging to the organisation and appreciation of the beliefs it espouses. In other words, putting the effort into tailoring wellness plans is of benefit to both the organisation and its employees.
Technology is the great enabler
The world of work has been through a challenging and unprecedented period. However, it is on the precipice of something very exciting as we look to learn from the changes from the last year and a half.
In the short and long term, irrespective of whether their employees are working in groups in an office or alone by the beach, organisations have a chance to embrace digital solutions and influence people to better engage with their wellness with a personalised approach. On its own, technology isn’t the single solution. . It is however the great enabler and the tool for facilitating improving workplace culture and engagement more suited to our changing needs – now and in the future.
About the author
Thomas Woods is the VP of Enterprise at Virtuagym and has a demonstrated history of working in the health wellness and fitness industry. Thomas holds a Master’s degree focused in International Business from Grenoble Ecole de Management.
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If you want to find out more about developing a personalised approach to supporting employee mental health and wellbeing, you might also wish to join us at the 4th annual MAD World Summit, which is taking place in person in Central London on 21st October. You can find more details and register here.