Occupation health has climbed to the forefront of a business’s daily runnings following the consumer-driven ‘wellness’ and ‘clean-eating’ movement that’s shaping products globally and placing an onus on food manufacturers to select ingredients wisely and be clear and transparent on labels. Through digital, people are more knowledgeable about their personal fitness and nutrition and are generally taking strides forward to prevent diseases, manage existing conditions and nurture a positive lifestyle.

Employers are increasingly prioritising their staff as a key business asset, essential to productivity and profitability, and recognising the impact from them living a healthy lifestyle; employees feel a greater sense of control and ownership over their own lives. They also tend to have better relationships with management and are able to leave work issues at work and home issues at home. Balanced employees tend to feel more motivated and less stressed out at work. To instil this mindset, business owners are seeking out innovative ways to encourage wellbeing in the workplace and ingrain fitness in their company culture.

 

  • Many businesses throughout the UK are encouraging their employees to partake in the Public Health England’s “One You” campaign, which offers self-assessment online and access to additional resources including downloadable apps to “nudge” employees with ideas for physical exercise, stopping smoking and healthy recipes. 

 

  • Health care is becoming more prevalent online with the NHS introducing websites and apps for patients to order repeat prescriptions or view test results through their software to avoid lengthy telephone queues. An increasing number of companies are making healthcare even more convenient for their staff by adding online medical consultations to their employee benefits via the likes of London-based Babylon Health. Their AI system has been created by experienced doctors and scientists to assess symptoms and risk factors and provide highly-accessible, personalised medical advice.

 

  • Mindfulness training is a great tool to help individuals live superlative lives through meditation, breathing exercises, and yoga. By training the mind to focus and embrace day-to-day happenings, employees become more present, creative, happier and more productive. At the end of the day, implementing a mindfulness program is a win-win for both the employee and the company. With the readiness of niche and mainstream websites and apps, servicing the wide spectrum of mental wellbeing, it is becoming more common for both start-ups and multinational corporations to support their staff in finding a programme that betters them and fits into their work routine.

 

  • On a larger scale, employers across the globe are encouraging their workers to not only live a healthy lifestyle but be responsible for it with physical activity trackers, such as Fitbit or alike wearable tech. The fad hit the major corporations a couple of years ago as Barclays PLC, Target, IBM and many others offered their employees Fitbits. The British electricity and gas powerhouse National Grid introduced Fitbits as part of a new wellness programme, according to their case study, after reviewing their employee’s health data and learning 75% of their employees were overweight or obese.

 

  • A gamification element is often introduced within a workplace wellness programme as a driving incentive to boost engagement rates. There is usually a competition element and data is gathered, via a fitness tracker, and compiled either by the organising company or by the participants themselves through a poll. There are some businesses that may invest in a large-scale gamified digital platform like Virgin Pulse, whereas, others may create their own wellness committee that could involve simple activities, like encouraging employees to trial top wellness apps and provide reviews for others to try.  

Digital trickled into the healthcare sector with the launch of the electronic health record (EHR), acting as a digital version of a patient’s paper chart, built to share information with other providers and organisations so all clinicians are involved in a patient's care. Coinciding, in the mid-2000’s, healthcare technology broke out in the market.

Recent evidence is showing many people are now discontinuing the use of devices such as smartwatches or fitness trackers because they don't find them useful or are unable to draw conclusions from the data they gather. Research indicates the next step in health tech is not just gathering the data but making sense of it and providing recommendations for self-improvement. The next-generation of wearables are not too far off with Apple now collaborating with Stanford University to bring diabetes testing into their smartwatch. They’ve also joined forces with a startup Cardiogram to find meaningful ways to use information on irregular heart rates to detect diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, and atrial fibrillation. In the coming months, it will be interesting to experience the impact of the progression of wearable technology and find out whether or not individuals will embrace the functionality.