Wellness Programs Get Social

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newsFolk wisdom insists that Californians are healthier.  Maybe it’s the climate and its year-long fresh fruits and vegetables.  But soon, perhaps some of that health might rub off on the rest of us by ways other than produce.

California-based company Vivecoach has announced a new product to help coworkers encourage one another to embrace healthier life choices.  This web- and mobile-based wellness challenge application tries a fun approach to building community and engagement around health in the workplace. It’s interesting to see collaborative and social based apps making their way into HR software and the enterprise office environment.

According to Vivecoach’s press release, “the challenges include weight loss, walking (steps using pedometers), minutes of exercise, nutrition, and “Cold Turkey” challenges where participants give up things like dessert, junk food, or soda for a week at a time. Vivecoach challenges incorporate gaming mechanics that make it rewarding and fun for individuals to participate: Challenge Walls for social engagement, real-time Leaderboards to spur competitive spirit, social and tangible Rewards, and a Personal Achievements section where people can be recognized for their progress, earn points and badges, and share their challenge successes on Facebook.”

Vivecoach seems to really be trying to rid the isolation many people feel as they try to make changes in their lives.  I wonder if it has an application challenge for people like me, trying to give up coffee and stay productive at work at the same time. . .

The preponderance of “social” applications are almost not very social in their actual implementation and use. By that, I mean that these technologies are meant for one person, working in isolation, to interact with other people in remote locations. There will most likely be a new trend of HR and recruiting software meant to be used and to motivate groups of people in company environments. Wellness programs are a perfect example of socially based group applications – a local application is used to coordinate and inspire the individual activities of employees. The trend toward social and collaborative based HR software will most likely expand at a rapid pace in the years to come.

By Marie Larsen