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Don’t Worry. Be Appy!

Source: United Benefit Advisors, LLC
In this day and age, mobile apps are no longer something that’s unique to people who have smartphones, nor are they only for “techies” and “nerds” who understand how to use them. Mobile apps are now in the mainstream and implementing them into the workplace should be second nature for HR departments. Wellness apps in particular are a popular way for employees to get information, keep track of their progress, and maintain their privacy. Wellness apps are an easy way for people who want to modify their health to find recipes, fitness routines, health condition (e.g., diabetes) managers, stress relief tools, smoking cessation tips, and a host of other useful information.
However, with thousands of these wellness apps available, deciding which apps to recommend to employees can be difficult. With some, there are enough reviews that HR or an employee can make an informed decision. That being said, HR also needs to determine which apps fit best into the corporate culture and ensure that the apps are part of an overall wellness program. If a recommended app isn’t useful, no matter how good it may be, then an employee is likely to become unmotivated rather than trying to find a better app on his or her own. Plus, it needs to be easy to understand how to get the most out of the app. Like any new undertaking, such as learning to play an instrument, starting a gym routine, or modifying a diet, motivation is crucial to keeping employees engaged. Some apps pertaining to the same subject (e.g., running) will be for beginners, some will be for advanced users, and others can cover the entire range.
An article on Workforce titled, Mobile For Wellness? Appsolutely!, lists some of the most popular fitness apps: GPS for the Soul (GPS4Soul), which measures your heart rate and offers guides based on your level of stress. Mind Tools, which is a management and leadership training app that offers self-skills tests, strategy tools and thousands of articles on leadership topics. And finally, Fooducate is a nutrition app that rates food on an A through D scale and helps users track their diet and make better choices.When an app is rolled out by HR, employees like clear direction such as what the app does, why it pertains to them, and what benefit or outcome can they expect. It’s also important for HR to determine whether the app works best on a tablet, smartphone, or wearable device. One way to figure out whether a wellness app should be recommended is for HR to do a trial run.
Once a group of apps has been approved for recommendation, HR may want to consider releasing the names and hyperlinks in a staggered fashion so that excitement is sustained throughout the year. This is another way to keep the company’s wellness program in the forefront and also to keep people interested in it.
Apps all by themselves won’t solve any health issues, but they will help bring awareness, are easily adoptable, and should be an essential part of any company’s wellness program.