Employer-sponsored healthcare clinics began as a way to treat employee injuries on-site, so those employees could get back to work quickly. Today, on-site and near-site clinics generally also provide basic preventative care, including immunizations and well checks, for employees and their families. Going forward, corporate wellness may take on an entirely new profile, incorporating technology with a new focus on keeping employees healthy.
TechTarget reports that there are seven potential trends for corporate wellness in 2018:
Corporate wellness programs are becoming holistic: Technology-enabled devices such as wearables are becoming popular but true corporate wellness will depend on involving employees in more diverse ways to monitor and track their progress. For example, SAP “recently began offering employees app-based health and diet coaching via mobile coaching app Kurbo and a program that uses molecular medicine and big data to determine the best treatment for employees diagnosed with cancer.”
Consumer tech keeps influencing corporate wellness: Likewise, technology that is popular on the consumer level will find its way into employer-sponsored healthcare programs as those wearables and even advanced technologies like virtual reality pods become more widely used.
Employers are using wellness to keep talent happy: The good news for employees is that the unemployment rate has dipped to just over 4%. For employers, however, that means they have to keep employees happy, and offering them ways to stay healthy can help contribute to employee retention in the future.
More employers are offering DNA kits: Interest in DNA testing is rising among consumers and the corporate healthcare trend is following that lead. Employers are offering discounted DNA testing kits, but also have to offer assurances that the results of those tests will remain confidential and will not be available to the employer.
Incentives are boosting participation: The trend toward third-party rewards for wellness activities is increasing. Employees “who meet certain agreed-upon health or activity goals can be rewarded with gift cards from retailers such as Whole Foods and REI.”
Chatbots are supporting wellness: Interaction with chatbots and voice bots online and through devices like Amazon’s Alexa is becoming more popular for everyday activities. Employers are looking to these options for engaging employees in their own healthcare as well.
Sensors are enabling corporate wellness advances: Devices such as watches that can provide an EKG reading are being offered to employees at a discount, so they can monitor their health privately and effectively. In fact, TechTarget advises that employees should “expect a growing use of internet of things sensors in the workplace to enable greater productivity, elevate mood, reduce stress and promote healthful behavior.”