Four Reasons Mobile Wellness Programs Work Better in a Remote-Work Era
Aug 25, 2022 8:00:00 AM
Nearly six in 10 American workers have the opportunity to work from home at least part of the time, according to a 2022 McKinsey study of 25,000 Americans. Researchers also learned that 87% of people who are given the option to work flexibly by their employees accept that offer.
This development has implications for all kinds of employee benefits, but perhaps most profoundly workplace wellness programs. Employers know wellness programs that focus on helping workers reduce chronic disease risk, lose excess weight and eat healthier can reap substantial rewards, including reduced healthcare costs, higher productivity and improved mental well-being. Wellness benefits also improve hiring in the persistent, red-hot job market, with nearly half the workers (46%) ranking wellness benefits as very or extremely important to them, according to SHRM’s annual survey.
So how can employers tap into the value of workplace wellness while adjusting to the new workplace environment? Mobile health programs, delivered through a digital app but with real human support, offer an effective model. Here’s why:
The Right Wellness Program for the Times
Companies have long provided wellness benefits geared around a central workplace model. Offerings included things like on-site wellness classes and communications, discounts to local health clubs and healthy meal offerings in the company cafeteria. The problem is, many workers no longer congregate in a central workplace every day or at the same time. That means wellness benefits need to flex with the changing work environment.
A mobile health platform, accessible through a digital app, can offer unique benefits for the modern workforce for four reasons:
- Transportable – Through a mobile health platform, your workers can access health coaching, resources, recipes and more from their mobile device, wherever and whenever it’s convenient for them. That makes these programs the most convenient and flexible benefit available.
- In-the-moment – The best mobile health programs don’t rely on once-a-week meetings or appointments; they provide advice, support or encouragement as the employee needs it. That might include coaches giving feedback on an employee’s meal post, responding to a question sent by text message or offering encouragement when the employee meets a particular goal or milestone.
- Scalable – Unlike an onsite event or class, mobile health platforms can easily scale from a handful of employees to thousands. Some of the best ones use AI-enabled technology that learn what preferences and needs each person has and generate recommended content or responses for the coaches. This allows a small team of coaches to provide personalized, responsive coaching to a large number of people -- and at a price companies can afford.
- Relational – The top mobile health platforms promote relationships between coaches and participants. As they correspond daily, celebrating successes and walking through setbacks, participants feel supported and encouraged. That’s important for improving physical health but equally for mental health, which has taken a hit during since the pandemic. Knowing they have coaches in their corner to discuss all aspects of wellness – including practices like sleep, positivity, gratitude and mindfulness -- can help employees feel less isolated and alone.
Becoming the Employer of Choice
With a well-rounded wellness program that includes mobile options, you will have the advantage when it comes to recruiting and retaining employees. Even better, you’ll attract candidates interested in a healthy lifestyle, and those are the same employees who tend to be productive and positive contributors to your organization.
Of course, there are many apps on the market and some are higher on style than substance. Before you get your employees accustomed to a program, take time to choose one that meets your company’s unique needs and delivers on the four benefits discussed here. For more tips on choosing the right digital health app, download our ebook: “Digital Health Apps: What to look for when selecting apps for your digital health portfolio.”
Once you narrow down your options, insist on seeing each app in action. Observing the technology’s onboarding process, customer interface, communications options and resource library can help make the decision clear.
You’ll find that the best digital health apps have a proven track record of helping employees lose weight, prevent chronic diseases, eat better, get fit and feel fantastic. That makes for a sound investment in the wellness of your current workforce, as well as the new team members you are sure to attract with a comprehensive wellness package designed for modern times.