Given the current rate of obesity in the United States, there is no reason why employers should not want to do what they can to make their employees healthier. Beyond investing in employees’ health, healthier employees tend to be happier, work harder and take fewer sick days. There are already Fortune 100 companies, such as Walmart, Exxon-Mobile, Apple and General Electric, implementing wellness programs in their businesses.
So how can employers help their employees live healthy lives? Fitness trackers. Between the decreasing costs and increased accuracy and features, a fitness tracker looks like a very good deal.
There are incentives for both the employee and employer to do basic fitness tracking. It helps the employee strive to be healthier, and it lowers the employer’s health insurance costs. There is increasing evidence that sitting at a desk all day isn’t good for people’s overall long-term health, so anything that can mitigate these risks is beneficial for everyone involved.
Even if the health benefits aren’t enough to get employees interested in being more active, reward programs can be devised for financial incentives. For instance, employers can set up a contest to see who walks the most steps in a month and reward the winner with a small prize, such as a gift card or a day off.
Most fitness tracking programs have a social component to them. Devices like the Samsung Gear S2 let users receive texts, emails and notifications in addition to tracking their health. This helps them connect with others and share their data with their workout partners. When people work out with a partner they tend to have better results because there is someone keeping them honest and accountable. Connecting with office mates as part of a competition or networking is a good way to keep everyone motivated. This connection also encourages team building and support.
Tracking steps and calories burned may be enough of an incentive in and of itself for some people. Hitting goals gives users a reason to reach them and encourages them to improve their time or distance as they progress. Tracking also helps gamify the process, which removes some of the monotony from the process and makes it feel less like work. If it doesn’t feel like a chore, there is less of a need to muster up the motivation to reach the set goal.
One of the best benefits for employers is the increase in productivity. Jobs that have a high level of repetition tend to bore workers. If employees are given an incentive to get up on a regular basis and take a short walk and increase blood flow, they are going to be more motivated to keep working. In addition, a study from the Annals of Family Medicine shows that employees who participated in 45 minutes of exercise per day took about 50 percent of the amount of sick days taken by those who did not exercise. The fact that employees are at work more often means they are more productive.
There are many ways to make help employees be healthy. Some people need an incentive while others want to compete against their friends. Fitness trackers are a small investment that can translate into savings when it comes to productivity and decreased costs for insurance.