3 Common Wellness Program Mistakes and a Solution that Works for Everyone

Wellness in the workplace is booming, with roughly half of employers with 50 or more employees providing some form of wellness program. But creating a successful program is more challenging than it may seem. Discover the intriguing history of wellness programs, learn the top mistakes to avoid, and discover how technology can provide a customized and cost-efficient solution that works for everyone.

A Brief History of Workplace Wellness

The official launch date of worksite wellness programs remains uncertain; however, one of the earliest records dates back to the 1880s. During that period, the president of National Cash Register organized early morning horseback rides for employees. He later built an employee gym and introduced twice-daily exercise breaks to promote employee health.

Fast forward to the 1980s when there was a surge in employee fitness programs along with an increased interest in the concept of work-life balance. By the late 1980s and early 1990s, there was a shift towards a more organized and holistic approach to health and wellness, laying the groundwork for today’s initiatives. 

Failure to Launch: Common Mistakes to Avoid 

Today, despite good intentions, many corporate wellness programs fall short. Although there are many reasons why a particular wellness program may fail, below are some of the most common causes. 

1. Low Engagement

Not surprisingly, this is one of the top hurdles to the success of any corporate wellness program. Whether employees feel like they don’t have the time to work on their health, or they’re not interested in the options they’re provided, it’s not a guarantee that if you build it, they will come.

2. Little or No Management Participation

Without upper-level support, programs are unlikely to succeed. If leadership doesn’t actively endorse and participate in the program, it sends a message to employees that it’s not important. (One IBM study found that although 80% of executives believe their company supports employee’s physical and emotional health, only 46% of employees said their company actually supports it.)

3. Generic Wellness Programs 

Employees want programs that match their needs and preferences. One-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter programs can alienate employees and make them less likely to participate. 

This is especially important when it comes to helping employees become more physically active. For example, many sedentary employees may need additional support and special resources to get started. 

Tech: A Tool for Better Engagement

Technology can be a powerful tool for engaging employees in worksite wellness programs. Tech-driven wellness programs offer several advantages over traditional approaches:

  • Scalable: Organizations with multiple sites or large numbers of field employees can easily offer programs to all their employees, regardless of location.
  • Accessible and convenient: Technology allows employees to access wellness programs on their terms, anytime, anywhere. 
  • Affordable: Technology can improve the affordability of typically expensive high-touch interventions, such as instructor-led education and personal coaching.
  • Appealing to younger employees: Younger generations are comfortable using tech in various aspects of their lives, including health and wellness. (Older adults are also increasingly becoming more tech-savvy, making tech-based interventions such as digital coaching a good fit for members of the Baby Boom generation as well.)

Aaptiv: A Different Kind of Employee Wellness Partner  

Encouraging physical activity is a critical part of any wellness program. According to Bob Allison, founder and CEO of PEAR Health Labs, the company behind Aaptiv’s  AI-powered personal trainer, “It’s important to recognize that each employee is at a different point in their fitness journey.”  He adds, “Aaptiv offers an extensive blend of fitness options suitable for every employee, from first-time exercisers to dedicated gym enthusiasts.”

“Variety is a key differentiator of the Aaptiv app, providing each employee the opportunity to experience a program that suits them perfectly,” explains Bob. “Employees can access 9,500+ on-demand video and audio classes at their convenience. Whether it’s a 10-minute stretching or meditation session, a guided outdoor walk, or a customized strength or cardio workout, the variety of fitness options ensure that every employee remains interested and engaged.”

Moreover, Aaptiv offers employees flexibility in choosing when and where to exercise. They can work out from home or go to one of the 19,000+ gyms and boutique fitness studios within Aaptiv’s extensive network.

Bob adds, “With our SmartCoach technology, each employee will get a unique fitness experience tailored just for them, providing  exactly what they need to progress through each stage of their fitness journey.” 

Workplace wellness isn’t just a fad; it’s an investment in a happier, healthier, and more productive workforce. By avoiding common pitfalls and embracing tech-driven solutions, employers can give employees the personalized tools they need to take control of their fitness and health.

Learn more about Aaptiv employee fitness and wellness benefits.

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