Our very own CEO, Malcolm Cairns takes the hot seat in our latest Q&A.

How is gamification currently being used to help engage staff in wellbeing activities?

“Gamification offers a number of practical applications, for instance change is inherent in the design of these platforms through video and ascending levels. People can track milestones, the completion of challenges, and the varying levels of stimulation of particular initiatives. People and businesses can track goals, achievements and milestones in real time.

This format can be tailored to different types of wellbeing – physical, mental, social and financial.

For example, taking nutrition goals to enhance wellbeing in the workplace we can use gamification to track nutrition goals, monitor water intake and send reminders. We can create games or interactive recipes to educate and support specific diets such as high protein, thyroid or chemotherapy (use puzzles, build a recipe, matching games and word scramblers and even vocal apps). We can calorie count, keep a food diary – take photos and use AI to predict nutritional values – even app-connected lunchboxes and smart water bottles could be coming in the near future.

It won’t be long before we can use this tech to enhance vitamin intake, increase sleep and mindfulness relieving stress and increasing incentives around fitness.”

What do employers need in order for these to work effectively?

“Employers need to adapt the mechanics accordingly or find alternative programmes to ensure accessibility for everyone. Gamified services may require new skills which older generations or employees with degenerative diseases/disabilities may struggle with.

Employers may want to try combining fitness trackers or basic pedometer, training on the best apps for them to access through their devices – in conjunction with the programmes.

Firstly, employees need to look at the programme and secondly they need to be clear about the communication of these programmes so that employees know what is available and the benefits to them – regular reminders via email or TV screens, desk drops and or even kick start with your own wellness Wednesday or mindful Monday.”

What evidence is there that these can have a positive impact on employee health?

“We are becoming more health conscious as a society, with millennials and gen z leading the way. Businesses can demonstrate that they are a responsible employer, support CSR and wellbeing strategies, and recognise the evolving healthcare environment. The workforce is more likely to be happy and healthy and this will in return improve presenteeism and morale. It takes a broader responsibility of representing company culture – for instance, fun, encourage social engagement, competitions, tech-led (great for attracting potential Gen Z employees).”

Can these programmes work in the long-term? What can employers do to keep things fresh and employees motivated to use them?

“Naturally the initial buzz of the such programmes can fade over time, but technology is the future – smart tech will evolve into intelligent tech. This is already being used in HR functions including onboarding, training and development and process management.

Businesses need to ensure regular review of programmes/benefits schemes as a whole and ensure the rewards of such programmes are relevant to its workforce – collecting points for them to then choose their reward, instead of a one size fits all approach.

They can work with their benefits provider to optimise communication and design. Personalise the programme and tailor to seasonal themes or company events. Keep it fresh and relevant! Listen to your employees and adjust to their adapting needs.”

How might this develop in the future?

“As the tech evolves and becomes more intelligent, I’d expect the programmes to become more tailored and smarter – combining AI, AR and VR. Rewards will need to be taken to the next level in order to keep employees motivated and engaged with the programme.

Artificial intelligence provides predictive solutions depending on the programme. Take healthcare as an example, virtual GP, wearable tech and telemedicine. These advances in tech will enable the detection of life-threatening conditions and administer medicine to alleviate pain.

The key takeaway here is that technology enables wellbeing programmes to become customer-centric which ultimately encourages individuals to take control of their own health.”

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