In 2014, U.S.-based corporate employers spent an average of $594 per employee on wellness-based incentives. Spending was expected to increase to $693 per employee in 2015, and is climbing even higher in 2016. It’s no surprise that corporate wellness has grown into an $8 billion industry.
Are Workers Participating?
A 2014 Gallop study found that of companies with 1,000 employees or more, only 40% participate in company wellness activities. Another report said 50% of employees take part in health-risk appraisals, but only 10% to 20% engage in lifestyle change and disease management activities.
Nutritional programs that don’t address everyone’s personal needs and fitness events that require extra time at the office may deter people. Decision makers should present wellness options that both appeal to a broader audience and allow employees to decide when and if they’d like to engage (Gensler found that choice is a huge factor in terms of employee satisfaction).
Get Everyone Moving — On Their Terms
Active office tools, like sit/stand desks, can be part of a less intimidating and an easy-to-implement wellness initiative—one that gives users autonomy over when and how they get active. Why start with sit/stand? Recent research shows that standing desks can improve health and potentially contribute to psychological benefits. If you think active office tools are right for your organization, you should also consider bridging “the wellness gap.”
Mobile devices and wellness tracking have become popular among millions of consumers, and millennials, who will make up nearly 50% of the workforce in 2020, are the most voracious users of technology to date. Digital applications, like Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker by MyFitnessPal, Fitbit, and Nexercise, have 8.7 million, 3.3 million, and 3 million users respectively. The biggest feature on the apps, besides tracking, is the ability to share progress updates via social media. According to a Nielsen survey, 49% of consumers said family and friends help them stay motivated while pursuing health and wellness goals.
When a person who uses mobile or wearable fitness technology has a desk job, they can get caught in the “wellness gap.” This is a period of time—on average, eight hours per day—that they are not active and not tracking wellness data. Americans spend nearly 55% of their waking hours at work. Is there a way to track activity levels during this time?
The answer is yes. First of all, we need to give people products in the workplace that are as easy to adjust and use as…well, standing up. To further encourage activity, we need to leverage technology. Technology that gives people in sedentary work environments the opportunity to be more active and then track that activity is here—now. In fact, Humanscale is now integrating innovative design with intelligent software to create the active, intelligent, connected workspace (you can learn more here).
Organizations that act now will be able to get the most engagement and return on their corporate health and wellness initiatives, as well as data insights that will change the way office spaces are designed, forever.
– Chris Gibson, Vice President, Marketing & Product Management, Humanscale