The Top 5 Tech and Social Trends That Are Changing Workplace Health and Wellness Benefits

The Top 5 Tech and Social Trends That Are Changing Workplace Health and Wellness Benefits

What’s the employer’s role in improving employees’ health considering an explosion in fitness and health-related consumer technology, and the changes being made in the healthcare system?

As a C+ student, I never get too close to the trees to miss the splendor of the forest – or to notice the forest is on fire regardless of the tree in front of me. Sometimes we all need a little tap on the shoulder, “Hey time to split this gig, dude.”

According to Mobile Marketer, there were about 97,000 mobile apps available related to health and fitness in 2013. See the article, “Mobile health app marketplace to take off, expected to reach $26B by 2017.” The wearable technologies are a new and growing industry. If you’re in this space, you’ll probably be at the Wearable Technologies Conference USA, July 2015 in San Francisco.

Just a small note here: A $26-billion consumer, mobile health app market tells me workplaces are not going to be where people engage in healthier pursuits.

Here are the top five trends that are changing workplaces.

1. Physical activity and biometric monitoring will be dominated by wearable technologies. According to Goode Intelligence, there will be 5.5 billion users of mobile and wearable biometrics by 2019.

2. Public fitness facilities will become sophisticated, specialized, and abundant. See “20 Trends for the Future” from Athletic Business.

3. Health insurance will soon become the responsibility of the individual. See “Envisioning the End of Employer-Provided Health Plans.”

4. Workplaces will become much more virtual. Don’t miss this great infographic at Brandon, “13 Important Virtual Workplace Statistics and Trends.”

5. Instilling core values and building a healthy work culture will replace a lot of the effort and investment now going into employee wellness and health benefit plans. See, “Company Core Values: Why to Have Them and How to Define Them.”

Considering the above five trends means work will not be the place to improve employees’ health, or the place where you get your health insurance. Work may also not be a place you go to every day. But it will be an association of people who share common values and goals, hopefully inspired by great leadership. I am an optimist (they’re usually right over time).

I think we’re almost at the point when employees only look at the electronic communications that have to do with their daily work. Anything beyond that they’re using different sources.

How does an employer connect with employees in such a fast changing environment?

My advice is to communicate in the physical world. Use print more often. Old-fashioned, printed newsletters, brochures, and wall posters have little competition. And they can connect to electronic resources that keep the print media relevant to its audience. Don’t miss this funny (but true) video by IKEA on the enduring qualities of print media, “Experiencing the power of a bookbook™.”

Try a couple of these and observe how much they’re noticed and talked about. They’re not only well done, they won’t have a lot of competition from other media.

Then think about customizing a quarterly or monthly printed newsletter. It’ll be great for announcing and informing on all the changes predicted in this article.