One-size fits all wellness programs are a thing of the past!

160901_Ladder_Ramo_healthcare_wellness_program_scam.jpg.CROP.promo-xlarge2.jpgWe know that everyone is unique, so why do we still think that a one-size fits all wellness program can succeed in our workplaces? Employees are individuals with different needs and wants and a single approach to wellness can only benefit a small number of employees, which means that it is more likely to fail.

With research showing that an effective employee wellness program can provide a 300 – 600% ROI, it is worth the time and money to invest in a successful wellness program.

Health is a personal issue and an employee that feels obligated to join a one-size fits all wellness program is doomed to fail. Not only will they not feel personally supported, but there is a high chance that it simply will not work for them. As an Employer, you need to get to know your employees and customize your wellness program to suit.

 

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Here are our top tips on creating a successful wellness program in your workplace.

Avoid a one size fits all program

When implementing your wellness program, think of two people from completely different ends of the spectrum. If your wellness program will not meet the needs of both people, then it probably won’t succeed in your company. One size fits all approaches to wellness programs decrease the motivation levels of your workforce. If your employees are not feeling important or valued, then they are less likely to participate.


Adapt to the workforce

According to a recent study, 76% of employers now taking on an innovative approach to wellness programs that address physical, mental, and financial health.  Modern companies are turning to their employees to understand what they value and to create a good company culture. Speak to your employees to figure out what they will appreciate in a corporate wellness program. A 55-year-old female and 26-year-old male are bound to have completely different needs and wants in a wellness program, and it’s important to adapt your program to suit both.


Get professional help

It can be difficult to implement an employee wellness program alone. Without the most up to date data and tools it can open your wellness program up to flaws and decrease the chances of success. Employee wellness programs not only benefit employees, but provide increasingly high ROI’s to company’s as well, so it is worth investing in some help to set up your customized employee wellness program.

 

Here at Optimity we specialize in providing a customized solution to wellness programs, while monitoring your ROI. Optimity’s technology platform is scientifically supported. We help the average worker take productive 30 second to 2-minute micro-breaks that have long last beneficial impact. These micro-habits boosts their mood, helps them focus and encourage social connectedness to their culture. Our pocket coach is also customized to each employee and provides your company with historical and ongoing claims analysis to help you understand your highest costs.

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The Future of Health and Wellness Today

trends-header1.jpgDid you know that Americans spent an average of $714 on out of pocket health care in 2016? This number continues to increase year on year. The rising costs of healthcare in North America makes it crucial for companies to start putting a larger focus on corporate wellness programs. The growing industry of corporate wellness programs shows that new technology, data and increased insights can really help to encourage employees to stay fit and healthy. As a result these outcomes not only benefit the employee but also the company.

The healthcare cost crisis has become so important, that major corporations like Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan are teaming up to create a new business that is designed to lower health care costs for their employees and provide increased employee satisfaction while reducing costs.

To provide a beneficial corporate wellness program we first need to talk about our current workforce. With Millennials becoming the largest generation in the US workforce (35%) they have a great impact on the wellness market. This generation has a new outlook on wellness and are said to spend the most amount of money on health programs, even though they earn less than any other generation. They also have a greater knowledge and interest in technology, which gives them easy access to wellness information and programs. Working remotely has also become a trend throughout the past few years, and as these current workforce trends change we realize that work-life balance is a thing of the past. Our digital world has us constantly connected, which means we are checking emails at any time of the night and chatting to friends and colleagues during dinner. Life and work have integrated together, and our wellness programs need to change to reflect this. New trends need new solutions.

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At Optimity, our dynamic and personalized approach helps this modern generation of professionals be at their best, whether they work from the office or remotely. We support their modern routines and offer a holistic approach to wellness in the forms of mental health, financial wellness, and physical health; all of which we believe contribute to a person’s overall health. Our programs also offer 24/7 support that is dedicated to the user, because we know that a wellness program should be designed to offer support, even if you are not in the office. We know that a one-size fits all approach doesn’t help anyone, so our programs are tailored to employee’s specific goals and needs. We help people manage their time and encourage them to build healthy habits, no matter what kind of profession or workforce they are in.

Workplace Wellness Programs are here to stay, and like any program, these initiatives are only ever effective if they are done correctly. Employees continue to request wellness benefits from their employers. It’s about time companies start paying attention to the holistic wellbeing of their employees and incorporate a proactive wellness program like Optimity that fits into their everyday working life.

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Want to know more about how we can help you implement a personalized coaching program in your company? Reach out to us at engage@myOptimity.com and let’s have a chat.

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Proactive vs. Reactive Corporate Wellness Programs

Posted by Abena Osei-Kwabena

To date, most people rely on reactive healthcare services, that is, they visit healthcare professionals only when a problem arises or a condition worsens. However, the benefits of a proactive healthcare approach can actually save more lives.

As the saying goes, “prevention is better than a cure.” A proactive approach prepares the body even before you are ill and can reduce health costs over the years. When educating employees for a proactive healthcare approach, they need to be provided with detailed information about how to minimize their health risks, prevent impending health issues, manage existing chronic conditions and prepare for work-related emergencies.

 Over 51.6% of Canadians over 20 has been diagnosed with some type of chronic disease. Lifestyle changes are one of the biggest contributors to conditions such as cancer, obesity, kidney problems, and cardiovascular and liver diseases. Stressful work conditions can cause common issues like back pain and insomnia, as well. It is roughly estimated that Canadians lose about $130 billion in productivity losses and $70 billion in direct healthcare costs due to chronic illnesses.

 The top four illnesses that can decrease an employee’s performance are headache, flu, back pain and arthritis. Such conditions are not only detrimental to the individual, but they can indirectly impact their coworkers as well. For example, if they were to go on a sick leave, their coworkers’ workloads may increase. Corporate wellness programs, however, can greatly reduce absenteeism, direct healthcare expenses and compensation claims and thus can provide an ROI of $1.40 to $4.70 for every $1 invested by the corporation. Breaking the fact sheet, the ROI for different programs for every $1 spent includes health risk assessments ($6.04), fitness programs ($4.90), wellness coaching ($4.50), smoking cessation ($3.50), flu shots ($2.10) and obesity management ($1.17).

 Employers must keep in mind that their employees are their greatest asset, and need proper care. Besides a strategic implementation of effective wellness programs, regularly conducting health fairs boosts the productivity of your employees and helps to educate them on preventing and managing health issues.

   


Abena is a Client Services Associate at Optimity. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a BSc in Global Health. She is passionate about human rights and health education, and hopes to develop tailored interventions to combat health inequities around the globe. Her interests include story writing, camping and exploring different cultures on her travels.

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Small Changes for Health Improvement

Originally posted at vivametrica.com

More than ever chronic or non-communicable diseases (NCDs) pose significant health risks to our populations. At the same time technology, particularly mobile technology has become prevalent in society. Smartphones and related apps are demanding more and more of our attention. A study by Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers found the average user checks their phone close to 150 times per day. A separate but related “Mobile Mindset Study” looks at how mobile has changed our lifestyles, behaviour and even emotions. That is, mobile has become an extension of our reality, with a large number of people constantly connected, “Nearly 60% said they don’t go an hour without checking their phone.”

While mobile has pervaded our lives, wearables still have yet to capture our full attention. The potential for wearable technology in Health and Wellness is considerable, however user retention is low. According to Rock Health, There are likely two major contributors to the attrition and rapid engagement decay rates noted in many other surveys. First, 28% of individuals are receiving wearables as a gift; and second, of those who purchase, 25% cite that they are doing so as an experiment. The implication of the second reason is that they do not set out with long-term ownership interest.” Wearable devices are currently in an “experimental” stage, as consumer awareness is high, but understanding the value of, and behaviour change centralizing around wearables has not adopted as it has in the case of mobile devices.

Health Improvement through Wearables

Wearables need to communicate their true value, which is a source of continuous, objective data. In this sense, devices have to go beyond simple monitoring and reporting functions in order to provide valuable information to the user. Analytics are one way to achieve this. Beyond machine learning algorithms, our team of data scientists have developed models unique to health improvement through small, measurable changes.

Vivametrica Founder and CEO Dr. Hu who is an orthopaedic surgeon has applied our technology to real life patient scenarios. In this case, the patient came to Dr. Hu regarding back pain. Dr. Hu asked the patient to use a wearable device and noticed the patient’s step count was 300-1200, well below the 8500 steps suggested for the patient’s age and gender. With encouragement from Dr. Hu, the patient was asked to increase his steps by 100 per day. As the patient’s steps increased, back pain decreased and surgery was avoided. Vivametrica has developed algorithms that can predict the risk of back pain based on activity, which is just one of the models we have based on wearable device data.

In order for wearable devices to have the same impact on society as mobile, they must first create value and have significant, meaningful function in the eyes of the user. Moreover, change has to be tailored to the individual; a generic 10,000 daily step-count recommendation simply won’t do.

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