Having fun while managing your health

by Venky Kulkarni

When is the last time you played a board game sitting around the kitchen table with family and friends? It’s probably more likely that you just played Candy Crush Saga or watched your toddler update your LinkedIn progress bar on a tablet.

Shifting to Digital Health

Today, most of us are only a few feet away from our smart phones 24/7. We are riding a major social wave towards a shift to managing almost everything we do on a digital platform, including our health. We have health apps on our phones and wearable devices are becoming popular options for monitoring the steps we walk, heart rate and even finding relevant help.

Consumers are adapting and changing, and technology is making people better informed, more connected and more vocal online. Our population is moving toward a new breed or what can be referred to as the “digital native” concept – soon, this type of consumer will only interact digitally. Today, innovation and technology are poised to advance health care in new directions that can drive innovative efficiencies and lead a course to self-care and improved wellness.

Digital health is as important to our personal health as it is for our employees and in our workplaces. It’s part of a broader social strategy, engaging employees to think about taking care of their health, just like they manage their finances or take care of their car. And, implementing digital wellness tools can support employees’ progress toward their health goals.

Gamification as a Wellness Tool

This is good news for employers who are starting to make the connection to the potential perks of including gamification in their benefits programs. Gamification is using game thinking and the dynamic of games in a non-game context to drive and shape behaviours. With gamification, you create an engagement loop, understanding the motivations of your employees; driving the actions that you want them to do (e.g. walking 10,000 steps a day); devising a rewards system (e.g. getting points that employees can redeem for awards); and then rewarding their achievements.

Technology can enable employees to drive them to a better lifestyle and make better choices when it comes to their health. One of the initial benefits of introducing gamification to employees is increased motivation. Gamified wellness has been proven successful in keeping users engaged, with elements such as attainable challenges, identified milestones, rewards, and recording and sharing achievements keep the “gamer” motivated and more likely to stick with the healthy activity. In the long run, such applications can support users in adopting new behaviours and, ultimately, in reaching or maintaining their health and wellness goals.

Whether it’s used to increase motivation around health, create a positive work culture, encourage performance, or cultivate a brand, gamification is making its way into the business world and can dynamically change the way employees and employers are interacting. And if you have fun along the way, don’t forget to collect your bonus points.

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