Technology ‘could be the key to boosting employee wellbeing’
E: Technology reward schemes can be used by businesses to boost wellbeing among employees, subsequently improving productivity.
In a market where there are few qualified candidates available for a glut of vacancies, businesses need to ensure they are doing everything they can to attract new talent and keep current employees from seeing if the grass is greener somewhere else.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to do this is to create a working environment that focuses on the wellbeing and happiness of staff. According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), promoting a culture that improved the health and welfare of employees demonstrates good management and leads to a healthy and productive workplace.
Research from the organisation reveals that this type of environment benefits not only employees but businesses as well, as it reduces the occurrence of workplace-illness – something that leads to around 27 million lost working days per year and costs the economy an enormous £13.4 billion annually.
Commenting on NICE’s report, Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said: “Health-promoting workplaces are obviously good for millions of employees and ultimately for taxpayers too, so the time is right for all employers – including the NHS – to raise our game.”
The report recommends that business try and think of new and innovative ways to keep their workforce happy, something that technology could help organisations to achieve.
Technology has evolved drastically over the last decade, growing from something that lingered at the periphery of life to something that modern life revolves around. There is now a gadget or app designed to assist almost every part of our existence, from tablets that let people hold the power of a computer in their hands on a small and portable device, to fridges that can alert owners to when the milk is low.
Businesses should consider how technology can play a part in keeping employees happy and healthy, and explore methods of helping staff get their hands on the latest gadgets. Reward schemes that provide workers with the opportunity of accessing the most up-to-date devices can help to boost staff wellbeing, which in turn help the business as productivity is likely to improve.
Schemes that are limited to technology specifically for work, such as those allowing workers to purchase laptops only, are probably not going to have the same positive impact as those that provide employees with the chance of buying whatever gadgets they like, such as tablets, smartphones, exercise trackers and cameras, among many others.
These devices give staff the chance to use apps that have been designed specifically to boost health and wellbeing, like MyFitness Pal a free nutrition and fitness tracking website and app suite that has been downloaded more than 40 million times, and RunKeeper, which is used by 22.5 million people across the globe to track their progress when hitting the pavement or treadmill.
There are also apps that focus on mental wellbeing, such as Headspace, which helps users find ten minutes a day to manage the thoughts whizzing around their heads and realise that they are simply thoughts and nothing to worry about.
Wellbeing is not just limited to apps when it comes to technology, as there are now wearable devices that can help people record their heart rates, count their steps to achieve a daily goal and even monitor sleeping patterns to see if the user is getting enough during the night.
Writing for the Guardian, Tom Kelshaw, director of technology at media agency Maxus’ research and development, explained that the latest technology on offer signifies “a movement that is looking beyond fitness to more holistic health and wellness”, which a business could easily tap into to boost wellbeing among its employees.