The start of a New Year is tra­di­tion­ally the time for plan­ning ahead, set­ting goals and es­tab­lish­ing a clutch of pos­i­tive new habits that will cre­ate a new im­proved you. It’s also the time to strate­gise how best to op­ti­mise your fi­nan­cial health and asses

Business First - - HEALTH -

Have you ever en­joyed play­ing tip or dodge­ball? Do you now en­joy a game of solitare on your phone? Per­haps a crossword? Or do you spend time on the PlayS­ta­tion or Xbox? Then you will un­der­stand the power of game me­chan­ics. In­no­va­tive CEOs and HR Man­agers do too, and when ap­plied to well­be­ing they are reap­ing the ben­e­fits for their busi­ness.

Why? Be­cause, the Gam­i­fi­ca­tion of Health and Well­be­ing is proven to help com­pa­nies in­crease pro­duc­tiv­ity and en­gage­ment and re­duce com­pany health risk pro­files. In­no­va­tive HR lead­ers and well­be­ing man­agers are tak­ing the lead by in­tro­duc­ing game play through­out their well­be­ing ini­tia­tives.

In fact, the whole cor­po­rate sec­tor is quickly jump­ing on board. A re­cent sur­vey pre­dicted that over 70% of the world’s largest 2000 com­pa­nies had de­ployed at least one gam­i­fied ap­pli­ca­tion by the end of 2014.

What is Gam­i­fi­ca­tion?

“Gam­i­fi­ca­tion is the buzz­word that has been de­vel­oped to de­scribe the ac­tion of us­ing game me­chan­ics to en­cour­age en­gage­ment in ac­tiv­i­ties that might oth­er­wise seem rou­tine or bor­ing,” says Gam­i­fi­ca­tion ex­pert Stacey Ed­monds.

Take for ex­am­ple the blight of seden­tary be­hav­iour. Em­ploy­ers across the globe are strug­gling with this prob­lem. Nilofer Mer­chant ar­gues ‘sit­ting is the smok­ing of our gen­er­a­tion’

[www.ted.com/talks/nilofer­_mer­chan­t_­got_a_meet­ing_­take_a_walk] – and gam­i­fi­ca­tion is a so­lu­tion to the be­hav­iour you wish to change. For ex­am­ple, you can use gam­i­fi­ca­tion to get em­ploy­ees to move more by en­abling them to have walk­ing meet­ings, get­ting them to stand for phone calls and en­cour­ag­ing them to have lunch breaks out­side of the of­fice. Give em­ploy­ees the op­por­tu­nity to be the ‘most im­proved’ or the ‘top step­per of the week,’ and lever­age the power of the leader- board to in­crease pos­i­tive com­pet­i­tive spirit. Cre­ate a lit­tle healthy com­pe­ti­tion be­tween de­part­ments and fire up se­nior man­age­ment by giv­ing them the ku­dos they wish to re­ceive for be­ing the depart­ment that moves the most.

We can gam­ify en­tire well­be­ing ex­pe­ri­ences, from en­cour­ag­ing volunteering and cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity to learn­ing and de­vel­op­ment – even cre­at­ing a safety cul­ture. This can all be brought to life with game me­chan­ics in­te­grated into a cus­tomised tech­nol­ogy plat­form that can be ac­cessed on any de­vice, record­ing data from wearable tech, and in­te­grated with ex­ist­ing in­ter­nal sys­tems.

Ev­ery­one can par­tic­i­pate

Gam­i­fi­ca­tion en­gages em­ploy­ees across all de­mo­graph­ics. At first blush that may seem a bold state­ment, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing your stereo­typ­i­cal gamer is a geeky guy who never leaves his base­ment. How­ever, the ad­vent of so­cial games, mo­bile games and in­clu­sive game con­soles such as the Wii means this stereo­type couldn’t be fur­ther from re­al­ity.

Sta­tis­tics from Bond Univer­sity tell us the av­er­age Aussie gamer is 32 years old, and that 47% of game play­ers are women. A huge 83% of par­ents play games, and 47% of us regularly use our mo­biles to game. It’s hardly a niche mar­ket, and con­sid­er­ing two thirds of Aus­tralians use a smart­phone these sta­tis­tics are only go­ing to rise.

Do em­ploy­ees like it? In short, yes. A study from World at Work cap­tured the en­joy­ment em­ploy­ees draw from mo­bile tech at work – gam­i­fi­ca­tion is ‘viewed as fun, easy, com­pet­i­tive and cre­ative’.

How­ever it’s not just about hav­ing fun.

Gam­i­fi­ca­tion of Well­be­ing is ef­fec­tive be­cause it turns ac­tiv­i­ties that might oth­er­wise seem rou­tine or bor­ing into real achiev­able mea­sur­able goals, whilst cre­at­ing a so­cial and in­clu­sive well­be­ing en­vi­ron­ment; awe­some news for CEOs and HR de­part­ments.

Gam­i­fi­ca­tion and health are the per­fect match

Worl­datWork and Buck Con­sul­tants car­ried out a study ask­ing em­ploy­ers whether they think gam­i­fi­ca­tion is ef­fec­tive, and for the most part, they do. Re­spon­dents rated gam­i­fi­ca­tion as ei­ther ‘very ef­fec­tive’ or ‘some­what ef­fec­tive’ at achiev­ing the fol­low­ing: • Im­prov­ing spe­cific health/lifestyle

be­hav­iours – 61% • Im­prov­ing work­force health – 49% • En­hanc­ing the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s im­age – 49% Em­ploy­ees be­come health­ier, and the com­pany en­joys the ben­e­fits of a more en­er­getic en­gaged work­force.

Tech talk

We are in the age of wearable tech. Not only can we track our phys­i­cal progress on our lap­top, mo­bile, tablet or ph­ablet… we can ac­tu­ally track and record real time from our Jaw­bones [https:// jaw­bone.com/up], iPhone watches, or the fu­tur­is­tic-look­ing Mis­fit Shine [http://mis­fit.com].

Try it out!

De­signed by Spring­day’s res­i­dent Well­ness and Gam­i­fi­ca­tion ex­pert Stacey Ed­monds, Spring­day of­fers far more than a nod to the ad­di­tion of a few ran­dom game me­chan­ics.

Play­ers are re­warded for all be­hav­iours and ac­tiv­i­ties – this means pe­dome­ter chal­lenges to weight loss pro­grams, flu shots and yoga classes, par­tic­i­pa­tion in Mind­ful­ness in May [http://www.mind­fulin­may.org/], RUOK Day [https://www. ruok.org.au] and even Movem­ber [http:// au.movem­ber.com]. There is some­thing for ev­ery­one and the game play is real, au­then­tic and mo­ti­va­tional.

Em­ploy­ees can ac­cess it any­time and any­where, and by lever­ag­ing the power of fit­ness track­ers it as­pires to pro­vide an in­no­va­tive and easy so­lu­tion for clients.

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