As companies become more aware of the benefits of healthly employees, corporate wellness programs have exploded into workplaces and with it, the need to quantitatively measure individual and group progress to wellness goals.
We recently had the chance to hear from Dave Monahan, President and CEO of FitLinxx, to learn more about FitLinxx’s activity monitor, the Pebble, and the elements of a well-designed corporate wellness program.
Describe the Pebble in 140 characters or less.
What led you and your team to build an activity monitor?
There is a market need for a simple all-day activity monitor for the total population. According to the Center for Disease Control & Prevention, “Lifestyle choices are a major contributor to the chronic disease epidemic and account for about 75% of the money spent on healthcare per year in the U.S.”
The poor health of Americans can be attributed to three lifestyle choices — smoking, poor nutrition and inactivity. In fact, these three lifestyle choices are responsible for about 75% of US healthcare spending. However, it is very difficult to address all three at once and most experts recommend starting with one.
If you have to pick one, physical activity is by far the best. Increasing physical activity has the most impact on health – and it’s simple, free and everyone can do it. According to the CDC, by participating in physical activity for 45 minutes a day, you can significantly impact nearly every major healthcare issue in the US including Type II diabetes, heart disease, obesity, mental health and cancer. This led us to build an all-day activity monitor that seamlessly blends into daily life and motivates people to be active.
What is the benefit of integrating your Pebble activity monitor as part of corporate wellness programs?
The Pebble technology enables successful tracking of physical activity, but it’s not the complete answer. By integrating the Pebble with effective wellness programs, individuals can track health data and leverage health and wellness expertise that helps them take action based on the data. We have built our business around this concept. We develop technology that enables people to easily monitor daily activity levels. This technology is embedded within specialized programs developed by our partners with expertise in areas like population health, wellness, fitness, weight management and diabetes management.
Why does it make sense for companies to implement corporate wellness programs?
Companies are implementing wellness programs to address the issues of rising healthcare costs and lost productivity due to poor employee health. Many companies have determined that they can no longer afford to sit passively while healthcare costs rise and take an increasing percentage of their profits. They are taking action and making employee health and wellness programs a strategic part of their business plans.
How can businesses benefit from introducing a health and wellness program that incorporates the Pebble?
Employers benefit from improved employee health, lower healthcare costs, and increased productivity. Employees improve their health and well-being, manage weight, reduce stress and generally feel better.
What are the components of a well-designed wellness program?
We have integrated our technology with many successful programs and have learned that there are six common elements to a well-designed wellness program:
- Make them simple – Programs need to be intuitive, easy to use and part of someone’s daily routine. You cannot expect people to make major changes to their daily routine to accommodate a wellness program, so a wellness program must be designed to fit into someone’s life.
- Make them social – Programs should offer communities, individual competitions, team challenges, games and connections to social media like Facebook. These social connections can strengthen an individual’s commitment to the wellness program.
- Make them rewarding – Programs should include incentives, which can come in many forms like cash, gift cards and prizes. We see the best results when they are part of a value-based benefit program and tied to a Health Savings Account or other healthcare savings vehicle.
- Provide support and guidance – Programs should offer the necessary support to make individuals successful. Many people are new to wellness programs and may be scared or apprehensive. Providing support from a physician, a coach, a knowledgeable community or a caregiver can make all the difference.
- Make them personal — One size does not fit all. Programs should allow individuals to create a custom experience that meets their personal needs and motivates them. Some people love competitions, other people do not. Some people like social media, others do not. The key is to provide the elements just discussed and let individuals select the ones that are right for them.
- Get leadership buy-in, support and participation – It’s imperative that organizational leaders establish a wellness culture and actively participate in the wellness program. Without the proper organizational culture and leadership support, the best-designed program will fail.