10 Ways a Worksite Wellness App Can Make Wellness Easy
What is a Worksite Wellness App?
There are many great stand alone apps for fitness, nutrition, trails, and pretty much anything. Most of them are focused one aspect of health, like nutrition or exercise which makes them a great worksite wellness app for you and your employees.
Here is great list of some of the better stand alone worksite wellness apps. All of them can probably help you make improvements to your health. Wellness programs, on the other hand, are comprehensive health improvement programs.
They typically include a health risk assessment, incentives, wellness programming and campaigns, health coaching, biometric screening, integration with wearable devices, communication platforms, social media integration and a whole lot more.
A good worksite wellness app should be able to do everything a comprehensive wellness program has to offer, while stand-alone apps may do just one or two of these items.
Wellness programs can use web-based tools to help organize and administer a wellness program. When these web-based computer systems are done correctly they should also work on any mobile device through a worksite wellness app.
To make them work on any web-enabled device all an employee needs to do is download the app and login. Not too long ago, many employees participated in wellness programs using paper-based programs and challenges.
Today, every aspect of a wellness program can be delivered using any web-connected device. That’s why it is so important to use a wellness program that can deliver the entire program using a worksite wellness app.
10 Ways a Worksite Wellness App Can Make Wellness Tracking a Breeze
1. Conduct confidential health assessment
The first step in behavior change is to become educated about the need to change our behaviors. Most wellness programs start off with a personal health assessment and a biometric screening.
The results from these assessments create awareness for the aspects of our lives that need to be improved. Whether done on a computer or a mobile device, wellness portals can make it easy for individuals to report their personal health risks and understand the results from their biometric screening.
The education and awareness part of behavior change is the easiest part to do. Wellness portals assess individual health data, make recommendations, and encourage people to improve. The challenge is to gather the data and provide the education in a simple, easy-to-understand format. Taking a personal health assessment on a mobile device is about as simple and easy as it can get.
There are dozens of ways to educate employees about the need for healthy behaviors. A good wellness program is going to use video content, live presentations, webinars, books, audio files, social media, and individualized feedback.
These help individuals understand the importance of adopting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Wellness platforms do a very good job of interpreting and reporting personal health information. Here is an example of the personalized feedback from the WellSteps wellness solution.
For many wellness programs, education and awareness is all they do, but this is only the first step in having an effective wellness program that is focused on behavior change.
3. Wellness tracking of program participation and activity
A well-programmed worksite wellness app will automatically track program participation and individual health behaviors. When we see progress we are motivated to continue with new behaviors. By showing participation and activity, a good system can help individuals see how their activity changes across time.
They can help individuals accomplish their personal wellness goals, they can use wellness tracking data from wearable devices such as a FitBit or Apple Watch, and they can even detect who has watched behavior change videos or completed behavior change tasks.
All of this gets aggregated into live reports that allow individuals and administrators to have a dashboard view of everything going on within their wellness strategy. This is perhaps one of the most useful aspects of a wellness platform.
4. Make engagement easy with a worksite wellness app
There was a time when most wellness program participants used paper forms and printed materials to report on health risks or to participate in a wellness program. The logistics of creating, printing, shipping, and collecting these materials was burdensome.
For the most part, all of that has been replaced by giving employees access to the web. Whether on a computer or mobile device through a worksite wellness app, it is a lot easier and a lot more pleasant to participate than it used to be.
Every corporate wellness program should be available on a computer and/or worksite wellness app that allows every employee to participate in every aspect of their program.
At WellSteps, we are seeing more and more employees participating in our wellness programs with the WellSteps worksite wellness app. The not so distance future, most if not all employees will participate with a mobile device.
Well-designed and easy-to-use worksite wellness apps make it easy for employees to engage in your wellness program. This helps them stay motivated to have healthier lives.
5. Tracking and administering incentives and rewards
When we talk about motivation, most of us think about employee incentives. As employees complete different aspects of the wellness program, they can earn points towards different rewards.
Regardless of the incentive strategy that you use, your wellness system needs to track progress towards receiving your wellness rewards. The WellSteps Rewards Solution automates the entire process of validating, tracking, and fulfilling wellness program incentives.
Historically, administering a wellness incentive plan has been labor-intensive for staff and challenging for employees.
Your employee wellness program needs to greatly simplify wellness tracking and administration of wellness rewards. A good wellness system will do this automatically and make it extremely easy for employees to report and track their progress. The easier it is for employees to participate the more they will enjoy it and the more likely they are to acquire new, healthy behaviors.
6. Demonstrate how to be healthy
In my experience, these next three features are the most difficult to produce and the most effective if done right. Most people who have elevated health risks already know their health is not as good as it should be. What they really need is a step-by-step approach to improving their lives. They need to know how to change their habits to make it easier to be healthy.
They need to be taught how to shop for healthy foods, how to avoid unhealthy fast foods, how to be physically active even though they might have a busy schedule, and how to avoid situations where they may be tempted to use tobacco. It is one thing to know that exercise is good for you. It is another thing to decide what type of activity to do and how to do it.
The how to part of behavior change is crucial. Wellness platforms can become teaching tools to give people the skills and know-how to transform their lives. This can be done with video.
It would be even better if the system were used to communicate a live meeting where real humans can communicate with other real humans to learn how to create healthy lifestyle habits. In this sense the wellness solution can also become a communication tool.
7. Provide the tools needed to be healthy
Sometimes demonstrations on how to be healthy are not enough. Employees may need resources or tools to help them be healthy. Sporting equipment, gym passes, cooking equipment, vegetable cutting boards, walking shoes, recipe books, or a day planner are all tools that can be used to promote a healthy lifestyle. Without the right tools is unlikely that a new behavior will be acquired.
Recently, I updated The Stop and Go Fast Food Nutrition Guide. With the guide you can eat fast food and still eat healthy. The new updated app is FREE. It color codes over 25,000 fast foods from 143 different restaurants. Avoid the red foods.
Enjoy the green ones and your health will improve. Over 1 million people are using this tool. People need tools to be healthy and wellness programs should be used to share these tools.
Anyone can get the FREE worksite wellness app here.
8. Deliver behavior change campaigns and challenges
The WellSteps behavior change campaigns and challenges are carefully designed behavior change programs that use each of the four major steps of behavior change. Each campaign and challenge is designed to help employees make new lifestyle habits.
Each campaign uses marketing and communication materials, incentives, campaign materials, video, webinars, and onsite support to help employees be healthy.
Most, but not all of this can be delivered using a wellness platform. For example, by watching a brief video during the Food Makeover campaign, employees take several weeks to learn which of the foods currently in their home are healthy and which ones are not.
During the campaign they will take an inventory of the foods in their home. They also learn shopping secrets that help them know what to buy and how to save money doing it.
Finally, they are asked to choose and prepare one meal from our library of healthy, simple recipes. This behavior change campaign helps employees eat healthier meals at home. Here is one of the videos from this campaign that is delivered via the wellness computer system.
9. Encourage social support
Unless you live on a deserted island all by yourself, your health behaviors are influenced by friends and family. A good employee wellness program will communicate and invite your friends and family to participate with you.
Social support is key to successful long-term behavior change. Without it is almost impossible to change our diets, stop smoking, or create a daily habit of exercise.
Humans are very social creatures and the support we get from others goes a long way to helping us be healthy. A good wellness computer system also has a strong social media component were successes can be shared with others.
Personal stories and challenges can provide motivation for others to change behaviors. Whether it is integration with Facebook or an electronic newsletter, every employee wellness program needs to include effective ways to harness social support.
Good wellness programs also offer team-based wellness challenges and campaigns. These provide opportunities for employees to enjoy strong social support and team work. A worksite wellness app that uses wellness tracking will allow all teams to compare scores, monitor progress and even have opportunities to talk “smack” with other team members.
10. Help create a healthy culture
Adopting healthy behaviors is actually fairly easy. The challenge is to maintain these healthy behaviors for the rest of your life. Worksites that can create health-promoting environments and a culture that supports healthy living will experience a variety of positive wellness outcomes.
The WellSteps Guides use our wellness solution to help every single client take a good look at their worksite culture using our free tool called the Checklist to Change.
Each quarter the wellness committee and worksite leadership use the WellSteps worksite wellness app and the Checklist to Change to pick one thing to change within their environment.
After several years of small, consistent, culture changes, the entire organization begins to look and feel like a place where people want to work and be healthy. This Checklist to Change is delivered to any web-enabled device and it helps employee and organizations create a culture of health.
Worksite wellness apps that use good health and wellness software will simplify wellness tracking. They will also help employees improve health behaviors, lower health risks, and reduce employee healthcare costs.
The WellSteps worksite wellness app uses each of these features as part of our wellness solutions. As the winner of this year’s Koop award, WellSteps has been able to demonstrate that a good worksite wellness app is an important part of every great wellness program.