A common struggle employers face today is justifying Wellness efforts on the ledger. In the absence of proof of a financial upside, many HR professionals find that they lack the leverage to implement Wellness programs. In this 2-part series we will point to sources for both sides of this challenging topic.


This week the “pros” – significant research projects which point to measurable bottom line benefits from Wellness.

RAND Corporation
“Overall ROI was $1.50—that is, a return of $1.50 for every dollar that the employer invested in the program.”

Harvard Business Review
“[Johnson & Johnson] leaders estimate that wellness programs have cumulatively saved the company $250 million on health care costs over the past decade… the return was $2.71 for every dollar spent.”


And finally, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) weighs in on the “pro” side of the conversation citing both these hard and other soft metrics in this article.


With these highly respected studies supporting the “pro” side of the conversation, what are the objections to employee wellness as a smart investment? We’ll explore the cons next week…

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Fitness Interactive Experience (FIX) and Strategic Health Services (SHS) partner to deliver fitness gaming for SHS wellness program members

Atlanta, Ga. (March 1, 2016) – Fitness Interactive Experience (FIX) and Strategic Health Services (SHS) announce a partnership to bring story-based fitness challenges and day-to-day exercise experiences to SHS wellness members throughout the U.S.

“At FIX, we are passionate about our ability to change behavior and have a direct impact on improving health,” says Mike Tinney, CEO, FIX. “As pioneers of Health Entertainment, we merge fitness, fun, and health to significantly impact an individual’s ability to make positive behavior and lifestyle changes. We are thrilled to integrate our games and programming into such a highly robust wellness solution as offered by SHS.”

“FIX has typically focused on bringing its wellness programs to employees by directly partnering with companies and organizations. In partnering with SHS, we are able to expand the reach of our offering to hospitals and health systems where SHS has extensive client relationships.”

SHS has a comprehensive wellness solution that includes a robust online and mobile portal, targeted health coaching, claims analytics and reporting, and strategic wellness consultation to help employers develop the often elusive culture of wellness so important to growing and sustaining workplace wellness. SHS’s wellness strategy puts hospitals at the center of preventive care and offers a unique reseller platform. Health systems connect with local employers to deliver wellness and develop healthier communities, as well as drive new patients back to their hospital networks.

“We are pleased to expand our wellness solution to employers and members seeking to increase participation and get employees fully engaged in a fun and social environment, and not have to think about exercise as another ‘to do’ item,” says Chris Caramanico, CEO, Strategic Health Services.

Strategic Health Services (SHS) links employers to hospitals by putting the local health system at the center of the health and wellness. Employers reduce their health care costs, hospitals drive new revenues from increased patient volume, and communities get healthier. SHS offers employee wellness, unparalleled sales and marketing outreach support, health coaching, and a comprehensive back office solution. SHS’s private-label technology helps employees change lifestyle-related behaviors, improve health, and sustain long-term health and wellness. Contact Susan Plumer, VP Healthcare Sales, at 847-337-3633, email splumer@strategichealthservices.com or visit www.strategichealthservices.com to learn more.

Fitness Interactive Experience (FIX) was founded on the belief that all aspects of life are enhanced by a healthy lifestyle. FIX develops high quality, interactive games that promote health and daily activity in a fun, socially connected environment. Running on the revolutionary UtiliFIT® Activity Engine, FIX’s A Step Ahead™ walking challenges are sweeping the nation and disrupting the traditionally staid corporate wellness industry with their unique mixture of game design, real-world activity tracking and… zombies. Contact sales@fix-fit.com or visit www.asachallenge.com to learn more.

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CIO.com’s recent report, 9 Ways Corporate Fitness and Wellness Programs Will Change in 2016, covered several topics, including the use of new technology in wellness programs, gamification and social networking, real-time fitness and others.

In analyzing these trends, a clear throughline emerges: fitness wearables are going to continue to be big in wellness.


It’s not hard to see why: fitness wearables offer a reasonably inexpensive, secure way to offer analytic data on employee activity (though some might dispute), there is evidence to show that they aid in wellness initiatives and engagement, and with the global wearables market expected to reach $19 billion by 2018, they are on their way to near-ubiquity.

WHAT’S THE CATCH?

Ok, so wearable devices are in. They provide good metrics at a reasonable cost, help employee engagement, and are poised to be everywhere. What’s the catch?

Data shows that users’ enthusiasm for fitness wearables has a shelf life. As reported by Business Insider, about a third of trackers get abandoned after just six months.

AVOIDING THE DROPOFF

Here’s where the nitty-gritty lies, and where you’ll have to forgive us for diving into a little shameless self-promotion. Wearables are a great way to provide the “what” and “how” to employees (be more active, get more steps), but they fall short on “why.”

The “why” falls on the behavioral spectrum, which is where finding the right programs that make use of wearables becomes important, adding important context (personal health goals, team-based challenge etc.) to the desired behavior (get more steps).

Articles like this one, which outlines 14 ways to improve corporate wellness programs with wearables, are becoming more and more common. Our strategy, on the other hand, is to create games that use fitness wearables to engage employee populations. Interested in learning more? Check out the link below.

FIX Health: Newsletter Tip


Focus on regular movement, not just steps. A mounting body of research shows that even if you get regular exercise, being sedentary for long stretches throughout your day puts you at higher risk for death and disease.

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As more companies seek to integrate preventive wellness into the workplace environment, they are often struggling to find programs that engage and retain the attention of their employees. One of the critical keys to a successful workplace wellness initiative has proven to be Peer Affirmation.

Speaking to Konbini, FIX Founder, Mike Tinney, explains…

“Putting people onto teams means your efforts help not just yourself, but others,” he said. “This leads to peer affirmation moments. Accumulating these successes inside of a game experience creates a sense of ownership and accomplishment that is harder to leave behind and disconnect from.”


The best part is that in addition to building a healthier workplace, team-based wellness programs build stronger personal connections and and a more productive office.

FIX Health: Newsletter Tip


Consider exercising with your spouse. A recent study showed that 43% of couples who exercise separately drop out within the first year of joining a gym, whereas only 6.3% of couples who go to the gym together drop out in the same period.

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In reporting ranging from Forbes to the Los Angeles Times, a startling fact has emerged that affects both businesses and their staff – Sitting is the New Smoking.

“We lose two hours of life for every hour we sit,” writes Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative and inventor of the treadmill desk. “Sitting all day is not natural and is to blame for all kinds of ailments, including obesity”, he says.


There is increasing awareness that many traditional desk-bound careers are shortening the lives of our co-workers. And there are an increasing number of companies that are making moves to address this problem. Encouraging brief hourly sedentary disruption activities is one way to offset these negative health effects, for instance.

FIX Health: Newsletter Tip


Standing up for even a minute or two per hour can drastically reduce your risk for a host of chronic illnesses, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and many cancers.

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How do I mute the sounds?

To mute the sounds temporarily (sounds will resume next time you log in):

1) Click on the SOUNDS (SPEAKER) icon on the A Step Ahead game board.


To mute the sounds indefinitely (sounds will only resume if you change this setting back):

1) Click on the SETTINGS (GEAR) icon on the A Step Ahead game board.


2) Set your preferences for GAME SOUNDS and BACKGROUND MUSIC to NO. Click OKAY to save your settings.


How do I play UtiliFIT Deskercise mini-games?

UtiliFIT Deskercise mini-games send you small physical challenges to complete every hour to keep you from being sedentary throughout your day. In A Step Ahead: Zombies, they count toward your exercise, which increases your team’s clash strength and kills zombies (for human players).

To play UtiliFIT:

1) Click on the CELL PHONE (SORI) icon on the A Step Ahead game board.


2) Click on START A GAME in the menu.


3) Select a category to view games of various types, or click on the Game of the Day.


Check out each game’s description and stats on the Game Details screen. When you find one you like, click START GAME.


4) Use the +/- buttons to adjust the start time of your game and click GO when you’re ready. Games default to start on demand (NOW).


5) Challenges will arrive at the interval described on the Game Details page. Follow the activity description and photo illustrations to complete the activities. When you complete an activity, click on the green I DID IT button.


How do I track diet, lifestyle and exercise activities?

Track diet, and lifestyle items to recover your character’s health. Track exercise to increase your team’s clash strength and kill zombies (as a human player).

To track diet, lifestyle and exercise activities:

1) Click on the CELL PHONE (SORI) icon on the A Step Ahead game board.


2) Click on TRACK ACTIVITIES in the menu.


3) Click on TRACK ACTIVITIES/+.


4) Click on the CATEGORY of the item you’d like to track to view an activity list.


5) Click on any individual ITEM in the category list.


6) If the item is time-based, use the LEFT/RIGHT arrows to adjust the time, and click the CHECK to queue the item up.


Items that have been queued up will have a green check next to them. You can queue up multiple items before confirming.


7) Click on the CONFIRM (X) ITEMS button to confirm all queued items.


Once you’ve confirmed your item(s), you’ll see a confirmation.