Employees who make a conscious decision to stay healthy may find it’s a heck of a lot harder if their employers aren’t on the same page. At the same time, companies complain that no one takes advantage of health and wellness initiatives.
However, a handful of startups are making the case that most employers are just ill equipped when attempting to provide health and wellness in the workplace.
Take for instance WellShift, a startup that gives companies and other organizations an “easy button” for launching wellness services that employees will actually use. More specifically, the startup works with local health and wellness professionals to set up times to hold special classes during office hours. Some of those classes include yoga, aerobics, martial arts, weightlifting, massages, cooking, and much more.
“For the cost of a pizza party most companies throw to reward employees, they could be offering free yoga classes four or more times a month,” WellShift founder Melanie Weinberger told VentureBeat.
“But both employees and employers need to want to get healthy or things will fall apart,” she added.
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Weinberger said she frequently finds that human resources professionals are the most eager to sign up with Wellshift, often because they don’t really know how or what to do when it comes to putting together a program. On top of that, there are actually some federal and state subsidies businesses can apply for to help pay for workplace wellness programs.
“Before taking on a company as a client, WellShift will do a health assessment of all their employees to find out what matters most to them and what kinds of classes they’d be most likely to take advantage of,” she said. “Then it’s just a matter of scheduling and providing feedback, so long as everyone involved actually wants to improve the level of health for themselves and coworkers.”
But tracking progress when attempting to become healthier is still pretty hard and can even be discouraging. Wearable health tech startup EveryMove wants to change that by mixing activity-tracking gadgets and games to make employees healthier.
The startup’s new EveryMove @Work platform connects with most activity-tracking devices (over 150 total) to give you a dashboard showing your current level of activity and where you stand among your coworkers. The idea is then to allow employers to see this collective activity data from the entire workforce, while offering rewards as incentives for everyone to get healthier. Some of those rewards might include gift cards, paid time off, free lunches, and more.
The @Work platform makes a lot of sense. You’re utilizing gadgets and services employees are already using, and working to reward people for staying healthy. When you attach real rewards as motivation, I’d imagine you’ll have far more employees willingly signing up for and actively participating in wellness programs.
Companies willing to spend a little bit of money on services like those offered by WellShift and EveryMove may find that it’s much easier to get their employees to participate. And a healthier workforce will usually be happier — and more productive.