Corporate steps challenges are popular summer wellness activities. For a period of time, employees track their daily steps and compete as individuals and teams to see who can walk the most, often to win prizes provided by the employer. There are a number of ways to administer a step challenge – many employers self-administer using spreadsheets others work with a vendor to administer the challenge on their behalf.
The most common way to measure steps is with a pedometer. Pedometers come in various shapes and sizes but by and large do the same thing – track steps. The main difference among pedometers is how they collect data. Many pedometers still involve manual tracking, which means that each day the user has to take the step count displayed on the pedometer and enter it in some portal or send it via email to the program administrator. This manual process is a pain for the user, a nightmare for the wellness program administrator, and adversely impacts employee engagement. This process is also unnecessary.
A new generation of pedometers exist that allow for seamless data collection, in other words no user manual entry is required. The most popular example of a new generation device is Fitbit. Fitbit allows users to seamlessly and automatically track their daily step data.
Fitbits are a fun and easy way to track steps, but this seamless technology comes with a steep cost. Fitbit cost can be major roadblock for many employers, particularly smaller employers with more limited budgets. Fortunately there is another way to seamlessly and easily track steps for free.
With the rise of mobile app technology there are a number of health and wellness mobile apps that function as pedometers. The best part is, these apps are free! Downloading one of these apps (like Moves) instantly turns a smartphone into a pedometer. Like a new generation pedometer, these apps automatically collect step data and require no manual tracking or intervention.
Manual data tracking is a burden for the user and detracts employees from participating. If the goal is create a wellness program with high employee engagement, then manual entry must be eliminated. Wellness must be made easy and seamless, not manual and burdensome. Whether the solution is a new generation pedometer or a free mobile app, there is an option out there that will work for every employer.
Additionally, program administrators need a way to seamlessly aggregate data across their users (Wellable helps solve for that) and that’s a topic for another post…