Going Virtual Gives Weight Loss and Fitness Programs Broader Reach

When pharmaceutical firm Amgen started providing digital courses and assets to assist its roughly 25,000 workers drop some pounds and improve their health throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, it found it was capable of lengthen the attain of those advantages. While onsite health packages had been supplied to U.S. workers, going digital made these packages accessible to the corporate’s non-U.S. workers for the primary time.

“We acknowledged that employees was not getting every day motion [working from home], so we started providing digital five-minute health challenges and stretch breaks,” mentioned Amanda McComb, Amgen’s senior affiliate of worker expertise in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Amgen’s fitness-for-kids program additionally had a broader attain as a result of it was not restricted to workers’ youngsters attending its onsite youngster care middle.

“We additionally added digital packages for kids like child yoga courses, to enhance motor expertise and steadiness, and stretching” so they may get some motion at residence throughout distant studying, she mentioned.

During the summer season of 2021, Amgen plans to roll out an enhanced digital summer season health program for workers’ youngsters.

As a results of reaching a a lot bigger inhabitants, Amgen’s digital weight reduction and health packages noticed a major uptick in utilization in comparison with the pre-pandemic, in-person courses it had sponsored.

Keeping Up the Momentum

Getting folks to make use of weight reduction and health packages is comparatively straightforward when they’re confined to their properties for lengthy durations of time. The problem because the pandemic recedes is to take care of curiosity and participation whereas additionally accommodating the altering wants of workers and their youngsters who could also be returning to in-person work and faculty.

To achieve this, employers can emphasize the personal nature of those courses. “Virtual tech-based options can be found to the whole worker inhabitants, not simply these snug going to the fitness center and exercising in entrance of different folks,” mentioned Jason Von Bank, president and CEO of Wellbeats, a digital health firm in St. Louis Park, Minn. “Onsite and digital courses complement one another when corporations reopen.”

With the vast majority of its workers persevering with with remote- or hybrid-work preparations, Amgen plans to proceed its digital packages even because it reopens its onsite health middle. The firm needs to make sure folks have entry to digital wellness irrespective of the place they’re working. “Virtual packages are right here to remain,” mentioned McComb. “The objective is to supply extra choices for employees to take part in wellness packages.”

Keeping it straightforward to attend courses is paramount. Amgen supplies a month-to-month lineup of all accessible courses, and its wellness platform permits workers to enroll in digital courses on-line, with the occasion routinely added to the worker’s calendar. The firm additionally awards factors to workers for his or her participation in wellness packages, after which affords a reduction on well being protection to workers who earn a sure variety of factors.

[Want to learn more about wellness programs? Join us at the

SHRM Annual Conference & Expo 2021
, taking place Sept. 9-12 in Las Vegas and virtually.]

Homegrown Solutions

With 25,000 workers working at 198 websites, Fairfax County Public Schools in Fairfax, Va., wanted a brand new strategy to its wellness program because it transitioned to distant educating and studying throughout the pandemic.

“We needed to do a fast pivot as a result of folks actually wanted wellness assist,” mentioned Camille Bartus, worker wellness supervisor. “Employees had been remoted and burdened, so we seemed for tactics to supply them extra.”

The consequence was a homegrown answer, beginning with digital health courses that had been posted on-line by a neighborhood hospital. From there, Bartus was in a position so as to add different digital packages overlaying matters equivalent to mindfulness and vitamin, supplemented by webinars supplied by the district’s well being care distributors.

“This permits workers to decide on a program primarily based on how a lot time they’ve—5, 10, or 20 minutes—and once they have it—after work, throughout lunch, when the children are round,” Bartus mentioned. By making classes accessible at any time, workers can encourage their households to affix within the actions, she famous.

The depth of the content material can also be vital. With about 800 choices accessible, faculty district workers can take courses to reinforce vitamin, prepare dinner wholesome meals and improve their health.

“This supplies sufficient flexibility in order that workers can decide what they want once they want it,” as an alternative of getting to train at a selected time of the day, Bartus mentioned.

Measuring Success

By monitoring particular metrics, employers can see how efficient their digital packages are. For instance, Bartus seems to be at what number of workers register for a given class, after which what number of comply with by way of and take that class. The hottest courses can then grow to be the constructing blocks of a program that’s related and motivating to workers.

She additionally seems to be at the most well-liked instances for taking courses to make sure sufficient selections throughout these time slots.

Similarly, Amgen’s McComb mentioned the corporate will proceed to trace utilization of its wellness packages, altering the schedule of widespread courses to satisfy demand and changing packages that aren’t garnering a lot curiosity.

McComb additionally conducts a quarterly evaluation of this system to see utilization developments. If curiosity and utilization are waning, she will tailor an e-mail blast to advertise this system to workers.

Any digital wellness providing will initially appeal to essentially the most motivated workers. To seize people who find themselves much less motivated, employers can strive completely different messaging by way of numerous communication channels. Asking workers who’ve benefited from the courses to function champions who talk with their friends about this system may also generate curiosity.

Employers might must depend on supervisors and group conferences to get the message out to workers who don’t use computer systems or the Internet of their work. Messaging and scheduling may additionally want to alter to accommodate workers in several areas or primarily based on their work schedules.

Variety additionally is vital, and the digital nature of those packages is an asset on this effort. For instance, “it is easy so as to add new courses to see if there may be curiosity,” Bartus mentioned.

Neither Amgen nor Fairfax County Public Schools plan to roll again their digital packages as soon as workers have utterly transitioned again to the office. Recognizing the better attain and cost-effectiveness of this strategy, “we must always have been digital all alongside,” McComb mentioned.

Joanne Sammer is a New Jersey-based enterprise and monetary author.

[Related SHRM Article: Post-Pandemic, Should Employers Still Subsidize Fitness at Home?]

Recommended For You

About the Author: Adrian

Leave a Reply