Corporate Wellness Trends for 2016

According to a June 2015 report by the Society for Human Resource Management, 70 percent of U.S. employers now offer some kind of employee wellness program, a figure that is up from 58 percent since 2008. This news comes at a time when we know that a number enterprises are now challenged with keeping their employees satisfied and engaged with new programs, challenges and rewards.

Last year, the buzzword in corporate wellness was “the quantified self,” when wireless wearables were all the rage in corporate wellness. But, what seems to be the latest buzzword for 2016, say the experts, is what Desk Yogi lives and breathes for – expanding corporate wellness programs that better your being. It seems people today want to nurture the emotional, spiritual and social aspects of well-being.

In fact, this year, 45 percent of U.S. employers expect to report the wellness program performance data to senior management on a quarterly basis, compared to annually.

Typically, increased productivity is a big goal, so many companies will make large investments in physical health initiatives for their employees – primarily in the areas of weight maintenance and walking-based challenges. A December 17, 2015, article in CIO magazine states that in 2016, organizations will be looking for programs that take employee health a step further. The article quotes Nichol Bradford, founder of the Transformative Technology Lab in Palo Alto, California, who says that “the latest corporate wellness trend is incorporating ‘mental well-being’ into corporate health programs.”

Here are just a few of the current corporate wellness trends:

  • Subsidizing activity trackers for employees and their families.
  • In 2016, corporate wellness programs will use new tech.
  • A multifaceted approach to fitness via two-way video conferences.
  • ‘Gamifying’ wellness.
  • The new emphasis on the importance of sleep.
  • Encouraging fun social interaction along with wellness efforts to motivate employees to participate and stick with a program, such as competitions, gamification, etc.
  • Attention to blue rays in the “ordinary white light” from devices like tablets and smartphones.
  • At-your-workstation strength training, yoga or meditation, in 15 minutes or less, whenever you need it with
  • Real-time fitness data for greatest impact on ROI.
  • Companies now tie fitness challenges to charitable donations.
  • Employers will continue to offer ways for employees to tap into their innate altruism while achieving health goals (e.g., The retailer Target tied fitness challenges to charitable donations giving the winning team $1 million to donate to the charity of its choice.)
  • Big data, analytics and predictive modeling software will continue to penetrate corporate wellness programs (e.g., employers are auditing and evaluating claims data, biometric results and pharmacy usage on a real-time basis as opposed to annually, to get predictive modeling forecasts). This enables companies to see what’s working faster, so they can measure wellness vendors and adjust corporate spending throughout the year for impact and ROI.

The RAND Corporation found that for every dollar invested in enterprise wellness programs, the overall ROI is $1.50. Corporate wellness and its health improvements can be measured in a variety of ways – from engagement, retention, productivity and biometric screening, along with counting miles, steps and calories. Although measuring insurance costs is attractive, the challenge is that a number of external factors influence the cost of insurance coverage.

Overall, when companies are looking to have and maintain happier, healthier employees who are sick less and ultimately more productive, then investing in corporate wellness is a win-win.

Desk Yogi is a digital headquarters for better corporate wellness, with 200-plus video sessions on yoga, meditation and stress reduction techniques for workforce productivity. If you would like to speak to one of our Desk-Yogi sales representatives to see how we can assist your company with an invigorating corporate wellness program in 2016, please email or call 805-272-0118.

Sources: CIO magazine article by James A. Martin entitled, “9 ways corporate fitness and wellness programs will change in 2016”;; Study released in June 2015 by the Society for Human Resource Management; 2013 study from the RAND Corporation.

Author: Desk Yogi Team

A group of dedicated individuals improving the workplace one cubicle at a time.

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