Beyond wellness: using data to accelerate your workplace wellbeing strategy

Beyond wellness: using data to accelerate your workplace wellbeing strategy

Despite what we like to think, work is the place where we spend most of our time. In fact, you probably see your desk buddy more frequently than your other half. So when spending time in the office takes up such a significant portion of our time, it’s so important to make it a place we want to come to in the morning. But how can employers ensure that’s the case, and how can they evaluate the status of their team’s wellbeing and attitudes towards work? 

Earlier this week we hosted an event with ClassPass and Headspace and discussed the ways in which we can use data to boost a company’s wellbeing strategy. This isn’t a new concept, but it’s certainly something which has gained some significant traction over the past months. After such an informative discussion, we’ve noted our top takeaways:

Shifts in attitudes towards corporate wellness

“Corporate wellness used to be considered as a ‘perk’ for the employee, but gradually we are seeing a shift in perspective, as employers are beginning to witness the benefits on their organisation if employee wellbeing is prioritised.” – Will Brereton, ClassPass

More and more, we’re seeing companies start to put aside more budget for wellness initiatives as they begin to notice the positive impact on an organisation this can have. Many of us are aware that healthy, happy employees equal productive and successful teams. In fact, one study revealed that happy employees are up to 20% more productive than unhappy employees. So it’s in a company’s best interest to prioritise their wellbeing strategy.


The benefits of data driven initiatives 


When implementing a successful employee wellbeing strategy a ‘one-size fits all approach’ won’t suffice. Different teams require different focuses and have different preferences. You can use data to personalise wellbeing programs according to your employees’ preferences and behaviour and assist them in the best ways possible.


It’s important to track employee wellbeing throughout the year, as different seasons bring different hurdles. Ria from Headspace mentioned how their use of data allowed them to see how their team’s levels of stress spiked significantly during employee review season. With this information, Headspace was able to help their staff during this time by offering meditation and moments of white space (a moment of calm and re-centering) to help ease this pressure.


As well as assisting directly with employee wellbeing, data-driven insights help when implementing certain employee initiatives. Both Class Pass’s app and Feedr’s Cloud Canteen are able to provide direct information about employee uptake and their preferences. Transparency like this enables companies to understand what initiatives work for their staff and which are less popular.


Is data privacy an issue when it comes to data driven wellness?

Thanks to the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal, data gathering has become a bit of a taboo. However, we want to change this narrative when it comes to employee wellbeing data, and highlight just how beneficial it can be for the organisation and the employee. 

Despite what many may think, collecting employee data can be just as beneficial to the individual as it is to the company. It provides the opportunity for employers to understand what wellbeing initiatives are working, what the office culture looks like at a given time, and how to personalise their employee wellbeing strategy to cater to the needs of the team. 

It’s also important to note that all data is aggregated at a corporate level. Data-driven wellness schemes, often provided by third parties such as Feedr, ClassPass and Headspace anonymise data, providing overall trends, rather than individual data insights. This should avoid any privacy concerns by allowing employees to remain anonymous. Should there be a reason for an employee to disclose personal, sensitive information, then we suggest this is discussed in private with a suitable HR professional and outside the data gathered by the company.


What is the future of data driven wellness? 

“We’ve slowly started to notice budgets from different areas of the business being re-allocated towards wellbeing initiatives. Companies are learning that employee wellness impacts almost every part of a business, so the budget shouldn’t only come from the HR function” – Ria, Headspace

We expect to see a continual increase in prioritising employee wellbeing within companies. As companies continue to recognise the benefits of employee wellbeing, we reckon there will be further importance placed on wellness. It will become an important pillar of overall business performance with more budget and emphasis put towards wellness initiatives.

According to a recent KPMG survey, only 20% of HR leaders believe that analytics will be a primary HR initiative for them over the next one to two years. However, we’ve witnessed a growing interest in the capabilities of data-driven solutions, and expect to see many more businesses begin to implement these solutions for the overall health and wellbeing of their workforce.  

With the increasing use of personalised software, we predict systems will become even more tailored to each user, allowing a truly personalised experience based on their previous choices and preferences. We can expect to see further integration, so rather than having one app for fitness tracking, one for nutrition tracking and one for mental wellbeing, this information will be integrated. This will provide employers with a wider, holistic view of their employees’ wellbeing across all areas. 


On a final note

Whatever data-driven initiatives you’re looking to implement it’s important to find what works for your company by experimenting with different ideas. All of our panellists encouraged teams to work out what it is you would like to learn about your employee wellness and focus on how that can be optimised. As companies grow, strategies will need to pivot and expand, or change entirely – but remembering to keep your people at the centre of your wellbeing strategy will always encourage you in the right direction

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