Category: Wellable News

Veson

Last week we launched a Wellable program with Boston-based technology company, Veson Nautical.  Veson is taking their annual employee wellness program, the Veson Olymics, to a new level with the addition of Wellable.  Over the course of the Olympics, which involve various team and individual-based health and fitness activities and challenges, Veson will utilize Wellable’s technology solution to promote employee engagement.

As part of the Wellable program, Veson Nautical employees will be able to use Fitbit devices and other mobile technology like the RunKeeper app to engage in the Olympics.  With the addition of Wellable’s automated administration tools, the Veson team will no longer need to manually track progress through spreadsheets and emails, as they had done with past fitness challenges.

Participants from Veson’s global offices in Boston, London, and Singapore will participate in the Olympics, and have an opportunity to win prizes.

Check out BostInno’s article on the recent Veson launch.


Category: Corporate Wellness

ShoestringIf your company wants to promote wellness but is held back because of budgetary constraints, than this post is for you.

While many companies are able to devote significant resources to wellness initiatives, other companies don’t have the budget to promote wellness, or so they think…

Wellness comes in all shapes, sizes, and costs.  In the wellness world, expensive does not always equal better.  Years ago, wellness usually meant in-person resources, consultants, and heavyweight technology platforms – these programs tended to be expensive.

In recent years, there has been an emergence of lightweight but highly effective consumer-oriented wellness technology solutions.  These technology solutions were built to be scalable and don’t require in-person administration or expensive support resources.  Cost-savings from scalable technology are passed on to the customer (your company) in the form of reduced pricing.  If your company is on a limited wellness budget, consider a wellness technology company that provides a robust and high-engagement solution at a fraction of the cost of legacy wellness providers.

If these low cost and more effective programs are still out of your budget, than consider one of the many free wellness options available.  Organizing an after work running group, promoting walking meetings, or starting a company fitness challenge are great ways to jumpstart a zero-cost wellness program.

There are also a number of state and federal wellness grants available to employers that can help offset some or all of the wellness program expense.  Through the Affordable Care Act, the federal government is allocating $200 million for wellness grant money.  If your company employees fewer than 100 employees and did not have a wellness program in place before March 2010, than your company may be eligible to apply for this grant money.  This is just one of a number of grants available for employer-sponsored wellness programs.

If you’re interested in learning more about wellness grants and subsidies, send us an email.


Category: Corporate Wellness

Finding the right wellness vendor is crucial to implementing a successful wellness program, but a vendor can only do so much.  Successful wellness programs require building a culture of health and wellness, which means more than just finding the right vendor or partner – there are “other things” that employers must do.

This is the fourth post in a series that addresses the “other things” that are crucial to fostering a culture of health and wellness.

Part 4: Timing

mark-your-calendarsTwo of most common questions we hear from employers are: when should we start our wellness program and how long should it be?  We’ll address these two questions in the forth installment of the “other things” an employer should do to create a culture of health and wellness.

When is the best time to start a wellness program?

Now!

Now may not be convenient, but it is the right time to start developing your company’s culture of health and wellness.  We know you’re really busy and that your company is juggling a number of priorities, but wellness should be a priority as well.

Going beyond the wellness vendor or embracing the three C’s can be time consuming and challenging.  Wellness takes work, but the results are more productive, happier, and healthier employees, to name just a few of the benefits.

It’s open enrollment period, we can’t implement anything new during open enrollment!  We’ve heard this frequently from companies and we get it – we hear your concerns.  We know that open enrollment is chaotic, but we also know that most good things require work and come with challenges.  There will never be a perfect time to start your wellness program; there will always be other priorities.  Wellness needs to be one of those priorities.  If your company isn’t making wellness a priority, than your company is not making your employees a priority.

How long should a wellness program be?

Specific wellness programs may have a start date and an end date, but wellness does not.  Wellness should be part of the company culture.  Like other aspects of culture, wellness should be a constant.  Wellness activities may be seasonal and challenges can be monthly, but wellness promotion must be year-round.  As warmer weather approaches, a summer wellness challenge is a great way to jumpstart your wellness participation, but make sure that you supplement summer activities with other wellness initiatives throughout the year.  In many cities in the northeast, winter is when employees need the biggest wellness push!

A vendor can help you with the details of getting a program off the ground, but an employer must make the decision to prioritize wellness.  Prioritizing wellness means wellness happens now and it continues throughout the year.  No more excuses, your employees deserve better!


Category: Corporate Wellness

3cFinding the right wellness vendor is crucial to implementing a successful wellness program, but a vendor can only do so much.  Successful wellness programs require building a culture of health and wellness, which means more than just finding the right vendor or partner – there are “other things” that employers must do.

This is the third post in a series that addresses the “other things” that are crucial to fostering a culture of health and wellness.

Part 3: The Three C’s

Does your company promote the three C’s of wellness: committee, champion, and captains?  The three C’s are crucial to building a culture of wellness.  Let’s examine each a little more closely:

Committee
A wellness committee is a group of employees who are involved in assessing a company’s wellness needs, evaluating wellness vendors, determining a wellness strategy, and helping to execute on that strategy.  A wellness committee should consist of a diverse group of employees.  The committee should draw from members of various departments, a broad range of ages, and even multiple office locations.  Be careful… it’s easy for a committee to be taken over by fitness fanatics.  A group of fitness fanatics and health nuts is likely not an accurate representation of your employee population.  Leverage this group for key wellness decisions.  Developing wellness through group consensus will lead to a more successful program, better alignment with your employees’ preferences, and higher engagement.

Champion
Your wellness program needs a champion. The wellness champion is the person who is going to internally advocate for wellness.  This person believes that wellness is essential for the company culture and is personally willing to devote time and effort to make the wellness program successful.  The wellness champion is a culture carrier, someone who embodies the culture of your organization.  Culture carriers can be found at every level of the organization, not just the senior leadership.  Every organization has someone who believes in the importance of wellness and is motivated to help promote a culture of health and wellness.  Leverage his or her passion, enthusiasm, and leadership to build a contagious culture of wellness.  This internal wellness evangelist can be your wellness champion.  The champion role often falls, sometimes reluctantly, on a human resources manager.  The human resources manager may be responsible for overseeing wellness programing and wellness strategy, but the role of internal champion doesn’t need to be restricted to the human resources department.  The right wellness champion will promote wellness out of pure passion and not because it’s a job responsibility.

Captains
Team wellness competitions are a great way to drive participation in wellness programs and build connections and camaraderie amongst employees.  To optimize engagement, every team needs captains. The role of the captain is to motivate, organize, support, and remind their team to engage in healthy activity.  Since wellness programs can get lost amongst other competing work priorities, the captain is there to provide some additional organization and the occasional friendly reminders to participate in the program.  Sometimes the captain will take the lead in planning a walking meeting or other healthy activity for the team.  The team captains should be passionate about wellness and interested in taking a leadership role.  Unlike the wellness champion, the team captain’s time commitment is minimal and most organizations will have no trouble finding volunteer captains for each team.

Does your company use the three C’s?  If not, consider how you can use a committee, a champion, and captains to help achieve your company’s wellness goals.


Category: Corporate Wellness

Finding the right wellness vendor is crucial to implementing a successful wellness program, but a vendor can only do so much.  Successful wellness programs require building a culture of health and wellness, which means more than just finding the right vendor or partner – there are “other things” that employers must do.

This is the second post in a series that addresses the “other things” that are crucial to fostering a culture of health and wellness.

Part 2: Go Beyond the Vendor

To build a culture of health and wellness, employers need to think beyond their wellness vendor.  Even the most robust wellness vendor cannot completely address what we like to call a 360° culture of wellness.  A wellness vendor can provide a structure, tools, and strategies to promote wellness, but employers must go one step beyond their vendor’s services.  360° wellness requires thinking about the entire employee experience, from front-to-back, through a wellness lens.  360° wellness will be different in each company but there are a few common themes.  For employers who want to improve their 360° wellness culture, a good place to start is through examining workplace environments, events, and policies from a wellness perspective.

Environment
Office snacks are a fabulous employee perk and can provide employees with a helpful boost of energy during the afternoon slump.  Unhealthy snack options often dominate the break room cabinets.  Try limiting the chips, cookies, cheesy puffs, and other unhealthy options, and instead offer healthier snacks.  There are many services that will deliver fresh fruit and other healthly snacks directly to the office, making it really easily to offer healthy choices.

Color WallThe right workspace environment can help increase employee productivity and improve employee health and happiness.  Studies have shown that colored office walls influence human behavior.  Did you know that a blue wall can stimulate the mind?  A diverse workplace environment with different spaces optimized for social interaction, relaxation, collaboration, and concentration will keep employees mentally healthy and happy at work.  If budgets allow, offer employees the ability to customize their workspace.  Different types of chairs, keyboards, standing desks, or treadmill desks can help create a healthier workplace environment for employees.

Events
Ordering pizza is often the go-to meal choice for a working lunch or to celebrate a team accomplishment.  Pizza is inexpensive, efficient, and most people like it.  Unfortunately, pizza is not a great healthy food option.  Consider ordering healthier options like salads or wraps for work meetings or events.

Pizza-box-stacksWork happy hour is a great way to de-stress and connect with employees in a casual setting.   Don’t do away with happy hour events, but consider also adding a few health or activity focused events to the social calendar.  Employee team building can take place over smoothies, bowling, or laser tag (for the more adventurous).  Managers can work with their teams to plan group fitness activities like a lunchtime run.

Policies
Overworking employees can lead to stress and exhaustion and have a negative health impact.  Providing employees with ample vacation time or flexible work hours can help make a demanding job more manageable and keep employees happy and working efficiently.  A summer Friday half day can go a long way in rejuvenating employees after a demanding week.  It’s easy for employers to offer vacation days, but it’s more challenging for employers to establish a culture where employees feel comfortable taking advantage of a vacation policy.  Encouraging employees to use vacation time is important and senior leaders must set an example that other employees can follow.

A more flexible dress code may make it easier for some employees to participate in walking meetings, go for a mid-day walk, or attend an exercise class.  While flexible dress policies aren’t right for every company, it may help some companies promote a healthier work culture.

Companies often focus on wellness exclusively through a structured program provided by a wellness vendor, rather than considering wellness throughout the entire employee experience.  Each company is different and while there is not one checklist of all things an employer should consider, a great place to start is with workplace environment, events, and policies.  Embracing employee wellness means thinking beyond the scope of a wellness vendor.  We hope the suggestions above can help jumpstart your wellness brainstorm.  To truly develop a culture of health and wellness, employers need to think beyond their wellness vendor, they need to think 360° wellness.


Category: Wellable News

Paul_Hobbs_WineryWellable is excited to announce that Paul Hobbs Winery has just kicked off their Wellable program.  Paul Hobbs Winery is a Sonoma based vineyard and winery, whose founder was titled the “Steve Jobs of Wine” by Forbes.  Paul Hobbs Wines demonstrated their taste for innovation by launching an innovative mobile technology wellness program — becoming the first California winery to do so.

We’ve worked with the Paul Hobbs team to create a customized wellness experience for their employees.  Paul Hobbs employees will be participating in individual and team-based wellness challenges using Wellable’s technology platform. In addition to using mobile apps like RunKeeper, Moves, and Foursquare to engage in healthy activity through the Wellable platform, Paul Hobbs employees will also receive customized daily health and wellness content.  Employees will have the opportunity to win great rewards like gift cards to local businesses and Fitbits!

Cheers to Paul Hobbs Winery for starting their Wellable journey!


Category: Corporate Wellness

Finding the right wellness vendor is crucial to implementing a successful wellness program, but a vendor can only do so much.  Successful wellness programs require building a culture of health and wellness, which means more than just finding the right vendor or partner – there are “other things” that employers must do.  This is the first post in a series that addresses the “other things” that are crucial to fostering a culture of health and wellness.

Part 1: Senior Leadership Support

Senior leadership must fully support and promote a culture of health and wellness.  This means more than just participating in a wellness program (although this is a must!).  It means embracing the spirit of the program and enabling others to maximize their participation.  Employees must recognize that senior leadership views wellness as a high priority and critical component of the company’s strategic vision.  For example, by hosting and encouraging walking meetings, company leaders can demonstrate their commitment to the program.

200399911-001If a wellness program is launching, senior leadership should be present and actively involved in communicating the details of the program.  This communication should be clear and direct.  Employees should know that the company views wellness as a high priority, why the company wants them to participate, what benefits they will receive in return, etc.  Senior leadership views wellness as critical, and employees will too once they understand why.  Helpful tip: when reporting on the success of the company (e.g., quarterly bookings, profitability, etc.), include wellness participation as a key performance indicator that is worth mentioning.  It will highlight the importance of wellness from management’s perspective.  Part of senior leaders’ wellness communication should involve rewarding wellness.  Leaders should reward employees for participation and wellness achievement in a similar way to how they reward employees for a client win.  By rewarding employees we don’t just mean providing a budget for financial incentives, but instead finding unique ways to commend wellness engagement.  For example, senior leaders can mention employees who were active wellness participants during internal town hall meetings.  Do employees receive tombstones for closing important deals, how about a trophy to reward wellness?

Composer1 *Being a cheerleader for the program is not enough.  Senior leadership needs to lead by example so participation is a REQUIREMENT.  Without their participation, senior leadership communication and support for wellness will fall upon deaf ears and the foundation for a culture of wellness will never be built.  I once had a boss who left work early once a week to play in a racquetball league.  His action signaled to employees that wellness was a priority and that it was okay to make time for your health, even if it meant leaving the office early once a week.  If a senior leader sets an example by openly making wellness a priority, employees will follow.  Culture starts from the top down; wellness is no different.

Companies can start to tell that a culture of wellness is beginning to take hold in their organization.  A wellness vendor should provide hard numbers around engagement and ROI, but senior leadership will start to see it with their employees and how they think about their health.  Employees will schedule walking meetings, request healthier lunches, ask for a standing desk, and proactively take other steps to improve their health and happiness.


Category: Corporate Wellness

Gadget-overload-nike-fuelband-fitbit-flex-pebble-watchThere has been a lot of talk about wellness technology and how it can help promote, encourage, manage, and achieve better health for millions of Americans.  The wellness technology landscape is broad and can be divided into two groups: mobile and non-mobile.  Mobile wellness can then be further divided into two sub-categories: mobile app wellness and wearable wellness.

The mobile app category consists of over 40,000 health and wellness apps that can be accessed from a smartphone. The wearable wellness category consists of wearable devices like Fitbits, smart watches, smart clothing, and Google Glass.

Wearable wellness has received a lot of well-deserved attention lately.  While wearable wellness technology is no doubt a game changer, it will not be the driving force in making mobile wellness technology mainstream in the corporate wellness space.  Mobile wellness ubiquity in the corporate space will instead come from mobile apps because of cost, flexibility, and ease of distribution.

Cost
Costs are half the equation in determining the ROI of wellness programs so managing costs is critical.  Mobile app technology is significantly cheaper because most employees already have a smartphone that can support health and wellness apps and employers do not need to purchase or maintain devices.  These cost advantages allow employers to invest in other areas of their wellness strategy, including richer incentives to reward healthy behavior and healthy food options.  Many leading wellness apps are free, but even those that are not free are far cheaper than a wearable device and do not have incremental costs for maintenance.

smartphone-apps-image-Flexibility
With over 40,000 health and wellness apps in the market there is an app for everyone.  Apps address a broad range of wellness behavior from educational health content to nutrition and physical activity tracking to meditation practice.  Wearable wellness tends to focus on activities that can be tracked by your body’s movement, which narrows the definition of wellness.  With more options to participate in a wellness program, employees have the flexibility to engage with the apps that are most appealing to them and do not have to be limited by a piece of hardware.

Distribution
Wearable devices require physical distribution to employees; mobile apps do not.  While distribution (and sometimes collection) of a wearable device is not an insurmountable hurdle, it can present logistical challenges and unnecessary extra work for a human resources department.  Additionally, employers will be responsible for hardware maintenance (faulty products, battery failure, etc.) and replacement.  Alternatively, employees can download the mobile apps most relevant to their interests, update them on their own, and even transfer them to new devices through the cloud, without putting any burden on the employer.  The ease of mobile app distribution relative to wearable distribution improves the lives of wellness program administrators and participants, increases engagement (by not having downtime due to hardware issues), and requires fewer resources (lower costs).

Wearable Devices And Corporate Wellness Don’t Mix?
No, not at all!  While mobile app wellness will be the driver of workplace wellness technology proliferation, employers should not abandon wearable devices altogether.  For the right employer, a wearable device is a great way to jumpstart a high-engagement wellness program.  A wearable device can act as an incentive.  Receiving a new wearable device will encourage employees to participate.  Also, wearables are perfect for tracking certain specific activities with great ease.

Remember, It’s About Options
Mobile apps and wearable devices do not need to be mutually exclusive.  Employees should be able to choose how they want to participate from a number of options, including mobile apps and wearables.  Even if an employer does not purchase wearable devices, employees who have a wearable device should be able to use the device with the wellness program (think BYOD for wellness programs).  If an employee doesn’t have a wearable device, then he or she can choose from one of many mobile apps.


Category: Wellable News

agency challenge v2

The corporate challenge has gone mobile!

Calling all media, PR, marketing, and advertising agencies 

 

For one month this summer, Wellable will be hosting a mobile wellness challenge exclusively for media agencies.

What’s a mobile wellness challenge?
Mobile wellness means using mobile technology (like apps and wearable devices) to engage in healthy activity.  A mobile wellness challenge is a fun way to promote your employees’ health and wellness by using technology.

Yes, it’s also a competition.  Agencies can compete as teams to be crowned 2014 champions.

What do I need to do to participate?
Not much.  Wellable administers the entire program and has designed a mobile wellness platform that makes participation really easy.  If your employees have a smartphone, than they have everything they need to participate (we even have a way for those without smartphones to join the fun).

If you work at a media agency and are interested in learning more, send us an email or register to receive more information.


Category: Corporate Wellness

Old personalityGenerations are colliding in the workplace.  Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers are all represented in today’s employee population.  Until Generation X and Baby Boomers fully exit the workforce, employers are tasked with finding a way to create work environments that are multi-generation-friendly.  Employers are using wellness programs to shape corporate culture, and like other aspects of corporate culture, a wellness program must address a generationally diverse workforce.

In a recent article, Dr. Carmella Sebastian recommends that employers should use corporate wellness programs to create a Millennial-friendly culture.  Dr. Sebastian cites an Aon Hewitt study that claims helping employees manage their health is key to developing a Millennial-friendly culture.  Developing a Millennial-friendly culture is essential as the Millennial population continues to replace the boomer generation in the workforce.

Engaging-Millennial-EmployeesTo create a Millennial-friendly culture, employers cannot rely on legacy wellness solutions; instead, employers need innovative Millennial-friendly wellness.  A Millennial-friendly wellness program should leverage the technology that Millennials are already using.  With over 80% of Americans ages 25-34 owning a smartphone (and this number is likely higher for those in the workplace), offering a smartphone wellness solution makes sense.

A few months ago we wrote about how healthcare needs to take lessons from the automotive industry’s approach to Millennial-friendly technology.  Millennials want an accessible and easy to use interface, a fun and enjoyable wellness experience, and a convenient 24/7 mobile-accessible solution.  Finding a wellness solution that incorporates these characteristics will make the program more Millennial-friendly.

Older_worker(2)We agree with Dr. Sebastian’s assessment of the importance of Millennial-friendly culture and wellness, but we also believe that Millennial-friendly and multi-generational-friendly do not need to be mutually exclusive.  Employers should not create a Millennial-friendly environment at the expense of non-Millennials.  With so much excitement around innovative (Millennial-friendly) wellness technology, it’s easy to neglect non-Millennial employees, but employers should not throw away their legacy wellness features just yet.  Wellness is not a one-size-fits-all solution and different generations will respond better to different features of a wellness program.  While mobile technology may get Millennials excited about the wellness program, older generations, who are less tech savvy, may be put off by the thought of having a company sponsored wellness program in their pocket.  Any mobile wellness program should be complimented by non-mobile features, which employees can engage with from their office desk (hopefully a standing deck…).  Recently there have been a number of wellness programs that rely on socializing participation.  Millennials may love socializing their wellness participation, but non-Millennials may loath the idea of publically announcing their engagement.  Make sure to keep social, mobile, and other features optional to ensure program participation across generations.

When evaluating a new wellness program’s features and ease of use, employers should incorporate feedback from a diverse group of employees.  If a wellness solution doesn’t have features that appeal to multiple generations, then it’s probably not the right fit for an age diverse organization.