HRO Today July/August 2014 - 33

The Benefits Packag
and their overall impact on employee health. The
research revealed pedometer use greatly increased and
was popular with an older demographic. Participants
of the study who were not previously active reduced
their health risk factors by 13 percent, and previously
active participants reduced their factors by 22 percent.
Employees earned points for being active, sticking to
their programs, and meeting goals. They were then able
to redeem these points for rewards in an online mall.
Results from other voluntary corporate fitness programs
involving wearable technology were revealed at the
two-day Digital Health Summit earlier this year. Experts
shared that participation rates topped 80 percent,
there was a 600 percent increase in weight loss, and 12
percent fewer heart attacks. One study also found that
fitness levels increase by 43 percent if a participant is just
wearing an activity monitor, no matter what the program
requires.
According to Tom Rath's best-selling book, Eat Move
Sleep, the workforce has become too sedentary. On
average, Americans now spend more time sitting down
(9.3 hours) than sleeping in a given day. And, research
consulting firm Gallup estimates that disengaged
employees cost the United States between $450 billion to
$550 billion each year in lost productivity.
There are many factors that can lead an employee
to feel disengaged at the workplace: lack of sleep,
a skipped meal, or simply feeling disconnected from
their management and co-workers. A healthier lifestyle
that includes
regular exercise
and a stable
diet can lead
to less sick
days, increased
focus, and
better job
performance.
The Human
Cloud at
Work (HCAW)
conducted
a series of
research
experiments
to study
employees'
levels of
Real Results
Results from voluntary corporate
fitness programs involving wearable
technology were revealed at the
two-day Digital Health Summit
earlier this year. Experts shared
that participation rates topped 80
percent, there was a 600 percent
increase in weight loss, and 12
percent fewer heart attacks.
One study also found that fitness
levels increase by 43 percent if
a participant is just wearing an
activity monitor, no matter what the
program requires.
productivity after weeks of using wearable technology.
They found that the use of wearables caused productivity
to increase by 8.5 percent and employees' job satisfaction
to also increase by 3.5 percent.
Many organizations are recognizing the research findings
and implementing different kinds of wellness programs.
The programs that are built upon the use of wearable
technology provide more concrete data and metrics
for employers to use for everything from negotiating
insurance premiums to choosing lunchroom menus.
There are a variety of wearable devices available on
the market and functionalities vary. Some can detect
location, temperature, and even mood data in addition
to tracking heart rate and the number of steps taken. All
of this data can provide employers with a clear picture
of their employees' health and give them ideas on how
to modify behavior and lifestyle choices outside of the
office to improve performance.
Privacy and Security are Tantamount
The thought of sharing health data with employers
makes most people shudder, but the fact is many people
simply don't have the motivation to make healthy
lifestyle decisions on their own. Wearables are a great
way to motivate people to set healthy lifestyle goals
and track their progress with very little effort. For all
the good things wearables do, it's essential that the
employee wellness platform interfacing with devices
encrypts all data and the employee remains completely
anonymous to the administrator. Both criteria are
necessary to remain Health Insurance Portability and
Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant.
Participation in health and fitness programs is optional,
but many employees see their coworkers striving to lead
a healthier lifestyle and maybe even working harder
at the office, and soon enough they want to give it
a try. Many companies are " gamifying " participation
by developing competitions within the programs that
engage and reward employees for making changes in
their lifestyle. Wearable devices provide concrete data
for these competitions and can push participants further
when they know there is a prize on the line. Contests
range from simple step taking competitions, to more
complex ones where employees track and share their
nutritional intake, heart rates, mood shifts, and sleep
patterns. The competition aspect encourages employees
to share goals and accomplishments with one another.
JULY/AUGUST 2014
| www.hrotoday.com
[33]
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HRO Today July/August 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of HRO Today July/August 2014

HRO Today July/August 2014 - 1
HRO Today July/August 2014 - 2
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