WHY YOUR COMPANY NEEDS TO GAMIFY HEALTH & WELLBEING
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
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.
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.