After a long day the only thing I want to do is relax and put my feet up. However, as a member of a sports club, I need to go to training. Afterwards, I feel rejuvenated and generally in a better mood. The use of technology in the workplace can promote a healthy lifestyle and will be beneficial to both companies and employees well-being.
Companies are increasingly realising that employees getting enough exercise and sleep is important for business. Wearable technology, including FitBit’s are becoming readily available. Businesses should promote wearable technology for their staff to maintain a healthy lifestyle, despite work pressure.
This technology analyses daily step counts and promotes better sleeping habits. Improving staff well-being would boost the morale and productivity of employees.
Additionally, with Serviceteam IT’s Beyond the Cloud: UK Technology Research 2018 revealing 24% of businesses are suffering from a skill shortage, recruitment is increasingly challenging. It is important for UK businesses to provide a healthy environment to reduce staff turnover.
Seeing the future of work?
Jason Averbrook, CEO and co-founder of the future-of-work consultancy Leapgen commented:
“All those other aspects of people’s lives, that once happened outside of work, are now in the frame for employers. Fitness and lifestyle, personal well-being and personal goals like daily step targets and quantity and quality of sleep – it’s increasingly all blending in.”
BVAA Compass provide a good example of how technology can be used in the workplace. BVAA gifts wearable fitness-tracking devices to staff and monitors their physical activity. Three quarters of staff participate in the scheme. There are two huge benefits: it is free to join and offers financial incentives for regular exercise.
Employees walk in the local park at lunchtime or take the stairs (even in a 19-floor building). In my opinion, these are easy ways to increase your daily steps. In addition it is important for colleagues to feel they are working together in and outside the work sphere.
After the initial success, BVAA compass has expanded their project Wealthy for Life. It now includes; nutrition, sleep support, personal health coaching, mindfulness training, maternity support and programmes to help staff quit smoking.
There are always problems
In addition, there are ethical and privacy issues with collecting data from mobile devices. Most prominently, who receives the employee data needs to be considered.
Dai Davis, IT lawyer with Percy Crow Davis & Co commented
“Data might be stored in the US, for example, which may not be compatible with the company’s rules for data handling. There are also issues that might arise if health data is collected and an individual’s privacy might be compromised,”.
There may also be negative impacts with collecting data; for example, changing a company’s outlook about private health insurance.
Furthermore, in an era of GDPR concern, companies are a lot less willing to collect additional data. Therefore, it may not be the best solution to employee welfare given the current UK technology environment.
Proactive to well-being
It is important for companies not to be reactive to employees, but proactive.
Huffington Post’s Arianna Huffington made a very important comment that:
“Right now, too many well-being programmes are focused on harm reduction, working only on the symptoms. But for an organisation to truly thrive, the solutions have to focus on the root causes of stress and burnout, and on whether a culture of burnout is being incentivised,”
I agree with Arianna that the solution would be increasing support from business leadership.
Are you a part of the change?
HR cultures should be adapting to this changing wave of employment strategy. In turn the long-term benefits of this strategy will become evident.
I believe it is important to be a part of this employment wave. In an age where the benefits of mental health, physical activity and healthy lifestyles are well documented, a huge change in the UK workforce can be seen in the next few years.