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The future of corporate wellness trends and innovations in digital health

Contractor Management
CXC Global8 min read
CXC GlobalJune 17, 2024
CXC Global

The Evolution of Corporate Wellness in the Digital Age

Your people are your biggest driver – for growth, productivity, prosperity and profit. It stands to reason then, that the people in your organisation are taken care of, as a priority above all else. And corporate wellness programs – when crafted to your unique culture and workforce – can have an exponentially positive impact on the entire employee experience inside your business.

And as it turns out, corporate wellness programs don’t just benefit the workers. The organisation stands to reap significant return on investment in these programs as healthy employees cost significantly less than sick ones. From greater productivity, a boost in morale to lower employee costs, the business case for corporate wellness is watertight.

And in the digital age, corporate wellness programs have undergone a seismic evolution to meet the changing needs of workers in a tech-centric workplace. The intersection of technology and well-being has transformed the way these programs are formulated, implemented, and adopted within organisations.

Historically, wellness programs concentrated on physical health with offerings like gym memberships or nutrition seminars. But in today’s digital era, there has been a significant shift, broadening the focus to include overall well-being, covering aspects such as mental health, stress management, and achieving a healthy work-life balance.

Technology’s vital role in this shift includes the proliferation of wellness apps, wearable gadgets, and web platforms giving employees the ability to monitor their fitness, manage stress levels, and easily access health-based resources. By offering real-time data and personalised advice, these tools empower individuals to proactively improve their health.

Today, we’re looking at the trends and innovations in digital health and how these are impacting corporate wellness programs.

Personalisation of Wellness Programs

In today’s fast-paced workplace with competing priorities and high levels of stress, professionals frequently overlook their own well-being. Therefore, developing customised corporate wellness plans that suit individual requirements is crucial for sustaining peak health and efficiency of workers. By considering individual lifestyles and work/life challenges, personalised plans ensure that corporate wellness is both feasible and enduring.

And of course there’s Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI is a powerful option for personalising wellness plans in the workplace. AI has the power to measure and reflect changing algorithms of health and wellness tech and can adjust recommendations for the individual in real time. These recommendations are based on new data presented by the user’s behavioural trends and changes. AI can pivot recommendations for the individual, to provide the ideal personalised wellness plan, based on the user’s needs, lifestyle, ability and goals.

To build personalised, tailored wellness plans for your workers, consider these initiatives:

On-site Fitness Centre and Personalised Fitness Plans

Providing an on-site fitness centre is a powerful way to encourage physical activity among employees. By offering personalised fitness programs, participation is increased, highlighting the company’s dedication to employee health. Access to on-site fitness facilities not only enhances physical health but also fosters team spirit and morale. This initiative demonstrates a comprehensive approach to employee well-being, fostering a positive workplace environment focused on health and vitality.

Employee Assistance Programs (EAP)

Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) support employees’ health and wellbeing, by providing counselling and mentorship services customised to the individual worker. The provision of EAPs ensures the company provides comprehensive support for mental health and emotional wellness. Conducting regular surveys aids in assessing the effectiveness of these initiatives, fostering a supportive atmosphere that tackles emotional hurdles, and boosts both job satisfaction and productivity.

Mental Health Support

In addition to EAPs, an increasingly important lever for supporting workers’ overall health, is providing personalised plans for mental health support. These plans typically cover emotional, social and mental wellbeing, especially in supporting how worker’s manage stress and burnout. Recently, these plans have expanded further to include:

  • Intellectual wellness: providing opportunities to explore creativity, lateral thinking, learning and intellectual development
  • Spiritual wellness: providing personalised support for worker’s personal values and spiritual development
  • Financial wellness: supporting workers who may have financial concerns and providing financial guidance.

Remote and Flexible Work Environments

The COVID-19 pandemic led organisations to implement remote work setups on an unparalleled scale. Whether your organisation now supports a hybrid, in-office, or remote working environment, flexible work arrangements are now seen as an imperative, for catering to employees’ needs, improving their work-life balance, and increasing your company’s appeal as an employer.

The increase in remote work accelerated the digitisation of wellness programs. Virtual fitness classes, online mental health workshops, and telehealth services became essential components of the corporate wellness program, allowing employees in various locations to easily access and make use of wellness resources.

Implementing strategies to support employees, no matter where they are located is crucial. These strategies could include:

Telehealth: Offering remote workers telehealth services of their local doctor, ensures they’re not discriminated against, because they’re not working in the office.

Virtual Team-building Activities: Establishing a roster of virtual events and team-building initiatives allows employees to connect, build rapport even though they are not physically in the same location.

Invest in Technology Tools: The plethora of technology options available in the post-pandemic era, means facilitating seamless collaboration between remote and on-site teams is easy, cost-effective and a valuable opportunity for morale building.

Mental Health and Emotional Well-being

Emotional and mental wellbeing has become a focal point in the years following the pandemic. There’s been a notable increase in recognition and necessity of enhanced mental health support since the height of COVID and encouragingly, the destigmatisation of mental health concerns in work environments is also evident; according to a Gallup poll, 19% of US workers currently rate their mental health as fair or poor.

It’s important for your organisation to consider strategies for addressing stress, anxiety and other mental health challenges that may exist within your workplace. These strategies could include:

‘Safe Space’ communities: This initiative offers employees access to mental health tools and resources in a trusted and supportive environment. Workers can learn to support others while sharing personal experiences, in an effort to lessen emotional or mental burdens and provide assistance to others.

Manager’s Training: Providing training to your business leaders so they can learn how to be effective in managing their workers’ mental health needs. Becoming better listeners, identifying and responding promptly and with appropriate support to the mental health needs of their teams is an incredible opportunity for a strong team, built on trust and support. These training courses can also better inform your company policies and provide a framework for support, company wide.

Mindfulness Resources: Incorporating relaxation solutions into the workplace can help keep worker’s mental and emotional wellbeing supported. On-the-go mindfulness apps, meditation platforms, quiet spaces in the office, or meditation rooms will help you integrate mindfulness into the workplace.

Mental Health Resources: Offering mental health resources like counselling sessions, online services, and well-being workshops can greatly enhance employee welfare. These resources play a vital role in reducing the stigma surrounding mental health problems and ensuring that employees receive the necessary support to cope with stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.

One final note on mental health support: regardless of size, every employer should prioritise mental health support. This commitment goes beyond industry, company size, and workforce demographics. Providing mental health resources is an investment in the well-being and productivity of the workforce, fostering a culture of support and empathy within the company.

Integration of Wearable Technology

Wearable technology has emerged as an essential tool in modern corporate wellness programs, facilitating data-driven decision-making and personalised strategies to boost employee health and productivity.

The rise of wearable technology, like smartwatches, fitness trackers, and heart rate monitors, has become immensely popular for monitoring personal health. These gadgets can monitor a range of data, such as daily steps, heart rate, sleep quality, and stress levels. With this information, companies can create tailored wellness initiatives that address their employees’ specific requirements, leading to improved workplace health and productivity.

Beyond tracking health and wellness metrics, wearable technology can also be utilised for other workplace functions, such as:

Stress Management: Wearable devices can track stress levels and give employees feedback to improve stress management. Employers can analyse data for patterns and provide interventions like mindfulness training or flexible schedules.

Mental Health Support: Wearable devices can track emotional well-being through factors like sleep quality, physical activity, and heart rate variability. This data helps identify employees facing mental health challenges, enabling companies to provide personalized support for improved well-being.

Ergonomic Assessments: Wearable gadgets that track posture and movement can pinpoint ergonomic problems in the workplace. This allows employers to make essential modifications and lower the chances of injuries.

Incorporating wearable technology into corporate wellness programs has the potential to enhance employee health, engagement, and productivity. By utilising the data gathered from these devices, companies can develop tailored and efficient wellness programs that address the specific requirements of their employees.

Innovations and Future Directions in Corporate Wellness

Telehealth and Remote Healthcare Services

Telehealth and remote healthcare services have emerged in the post-COVID era as a viable medical option allowing lower healthcare costs and more affordable doctor’s visits. Telemedicine uses electronic communications to offer clinical services remotely, including follow-up visits, chronic condition management, medication oversight, specialist consultations, and more.

Incorporating telehealth services into employee health coverage can manage healthcare expenses and the cost of lost productivity, by removing the necessity for employees to physically go to the hospital or doctor. Telehealth services also enable teams to be more productive, engaged and feel cared for by their employer. Put simply, incorporating telehealth into company wellbeing programs allows healthcare to be accessible, affordable, and a boon for worker productivity.

Data Privacy and Security

The one potential downside of corporate wellness programs is compromised data privacy and security. Apps, wearables, contracted wellness companies and wellness tech platforms all carry personal data of participating workers. And it’s up to the organisation to ensure this data remains private, secure and inaccessible to external parties, per local privacy legislation.

Key methods to ensure data privacy and security include:

  • Making your wellness program voluntary, with the option for workers to opt-out whenever they want
  • Transparency of information storage and usage: provide clear notice of the company’s usage, storage, who has access and, if relevant, analysis of the data gathered in the program. Keep workers’ abreast of any changes to these practices and remind them of their ability to opt-out
  • Obtain written consent from participants in your wellness program before any personal data is collected
  • Establish robust company policies and procedures ensuring the proper use of health data
  • Establish data security measures for vulnerable assets, such as wearables. The security measures must be as robust as those which protect all other data held by the company
  • Implement data retention and destruction policies to limit the compromise of employee health data in the event of a breach.

Privacy integrity is crucial in workplace wellness programs to safeguard personal health information and ensure program success. Organisations should prioritise data protection, trust, and respect employee privacy to maximise wellness program benefits.

The Promising Future of Corporate Wellness

Corporate wellness programs have evolved significantly to meet the challenges of the digital era. By incorporating technology, these programs have not only broadened their range of services but have also become more interactive, user-friendly, and effective. The ongoing advancement of technology will shape the future of corporate wellness, ensuring that employee wellbeing stays a top priority for organisations.

To find out more on how CXC can work with you on your corporate health initiatives, click here.

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