The top wellbeing technology trends HR managers should know
Online medical services
Due to the convenient nature of virtual healthcare services, GP platforms have become increasingly popular in recent years, including within organisations. And of course, the significant role these technologies played in helping to maintain social distancing measures has resulted in a sharp increase in use during and following lockdown. These services offer online consultations with a general practitioner, providing fast access to healthcare, regardless of location.
Platforms like Tend – a new app providing online healthcare – can be integrated into workplace wellbeing programmes, bringing convenience and timely healthcare advice to employees. In turn, these tools can also reduce the amount of time employees would take to visit a healthcare professional in person.
Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies and robotics taking over the workplace has been a concern among many for decades. But in reality, the adoption of AI in the workplace can lead to the automation of mundane and repetitive tasks - giving employees the opportunity to upskill and do more fulfilling work.
This is important for HR managers to note, as according to a recent Myers-Briggs study on workplace wellbeing, two of the most effective activities to enhance wellbeing are those where employees “undertake work where they learn something new” or “undertake challenging work that adds to their skills and knowledge”.
Specifically in the corporate wellbeing space, AI is being used to predict employee needs and improve productivity. For example, online messaging platform Slack is developing AI technology which analyses how employees are interacting, what conversation topics are trending and how this has changed over time, giving managers insight into their organisation's wellness.
Soon enough, we can expect to see technology with the ability to gauge an employee or team’s engagement levels and mood via the emojis they use most frequently in workplace chat platforms, or even via biometric body indicators such as eye movement scanning.
Wearable technology and wellbeing apps
Wearables are nothing new, however, their functionality has evolved dramatically since they first came onto the scene. Now, not only do wearables have the ability to count steps or track movement, but some can also monitor the risk of injury, indicate potential health issues and manage stress levels. More recent models even track noise levels to prevent future hearing loss.
Research shows that wearable-based wellness programmes increase employee productivity and loyalty, and employees who use wearable technology are more engaged with their health. Driven by the growing workplace wellness trend, revenue for enterprise wearables is expected to exceed US$60 billion in 2022.
Numerous apps have also emerged which cover all of the various aspects encompassed by the term “wellbeing”. For example, Clearhead is an AI-powered, 24-7 wellbeing assistant designed to proactively promote mental wellbeing and help prevent future issues. For employees who feel uncomfortable visiting a counsellor in person, and particularly given that burnout is a common issue among corporate organisations and in high-stress environments, these apps are especially valuable.
Many organisations may already have some kind of wellness programme or initiatives in place, but the real game-changer for corporate wellness is in data-driven wellbeing platforms.
Rather than requiring employees to log into multiple apps or websites to keep track of their wellbeing progress, an effective digital platform provides a ‘one-stop-shop’. Capturing and monitoring health data, it provides key insights into areas of improvement and therefore allows managers to better understand and manage their employees’ wellbeing.
These platforms also allow employees to be more engaged with their own health, effectively creating a workplace culture that actively promotes a healthy lifestyle.
At nib, we’ve partnered with HealthLogix to develop myhealthHQ – an innovative total workplace health and wellness portal helping businesses to plan, implement and measure successful employee wellness initiatives.
With myhealthHQ, companies can customise the portal with their own brand and integrate its wellness initiatives in one place. Via dedicated reporting tools, employers gain insight into the health of their workforce, allowing them to implement evidence-based initiatives aligned to their business objectives, budget and employee profile. Organisations leading the charge will be those who effectively utilise wellness technology, keeping up with the modern workplace. By enabling employees to make smarter choices for their health and lifestyle, businesses can improve productivity, profitability as well as overall business health.
By Ian Sargeant, nib New Zealand Sales Lead – Business Development | Partnerships & Group