You’ve seen them everywhere. At the gym, at restaurants, even at work. Wearable fitness trackers. Those little electronic bracelets that now come in almost every shape, size, and color imaginable.
Fitness monitors look cool, but do they have any tangible advantages? Can companies use them to improve their wellness program?
The answer to both these questions is yes, but (as with most answers) there are several stipulations. There are certain methods companies can use to ensure that they are getting the most out of the incorporation of fitness trackers into their wellness program.
Fitness trackers are wearable devices that record and measure an individual’s activity. These devices use sensors to track your motion and then convert this data into quantifiable results. The more sensors your tracker has, the more accurate the results.
Each brand and model has a different amount and set of sensors. Additionally, each brand uses a different algorithm to convert the data it collects, meaning no two devices will give you the same results.
When it comes to picking a particular fitness tracker; there is no right answer. Fitness monitors vary by size, style, function, and price. This variation means the right fitness tracker for your wellness program is dependent on your needs and budget.
Advantages of Using Fitness Trackers
There are several advantages to using fitness trackers as a part of your wellness program. The data collected by fitness monitors can help to reduce employees’ health care costs by improving their well-being.
These results are a win-win for an employer as it means a decline in both health care expenses, and expenses related to sick employees missing work or performing at subpar levels.
At Jawbone, a maker of fitness technology, the incorporation of fitness trackers into their wellness program has had a sizable positive impact. On average, employees have been getting to bed 23 minutes earlier and moving 27 percent more during the day. Fitness trackers allow your company to track and quantify results, such as these.
Fitness trackers also provide motivation to employees. These trackers serve as a visual cue to go to bed or to move more. They are a continuous reminder that employees should be working to be healthier. Seeing your results on your computer or phone give you an objective sense of your health, which can act as motivation.
Another benefit of using fitness trackers is they give you actual data to present to your company, to show that the wellness program is working. The data that fitness trackers collect can be given to your business leaders to show the positive results of the wellness program. These numbers can help justify the program’s existence to upper management and other stakeholders.
How to Implement Fitness Trackers Into Your Wellness Program
The implementation of fitness trackers into your wellness program is critical to whether these devices prove worth their cost. There are several ways this implementation can improve the utilization of these devices.
Individualized Wellness Plans
The point of these trackers is that they collect data from you, and you only. A healthy employee who consistently exercises will get drastically different results from their tracker, than an employee who eats poorly and doesn’t exercise regularly.
The company should use this data to each individual’s advantage. Employees will get better results, and be more motivated to follow a wellness plan if it is tailored specifically for them.
Make it a Social Process
Your wellness program should allow employees to socialize with one another and promote a sense of belonging. This socialization will drive engagement and help sustain long-term results.
Employees need a system where they can share their performance and accomplishments, give encouragement, and challenge other departments and individuals.
Set and Recognize the Right Goals
Goals should acknowledge and celebrate the whole group rather than the top athletes in your company. The average employee will not be motivated to participate through incentives that reward only the fittest in your organization.
The goal of these fitness trackers and your wellness program should be to motivate every employee. Goals need to be attainable and promote all employees to better themselves.
Fitness trackers are a great tool that can be used to promote greater well-being, decrease medical costs, and improve your company’s wellness program.
For the best results, your wellness program should use fitness trackers to individualize wellness plans, make it a social process, and set and recognize the right goals. The smart technology in fitness trackers can be hugely beneficial if it is used smartly.