Wellness at Work: How New Programs And Platforms Are Helping Us Feel and Work Better
When Nicole Wolfe, director of partnerships at ClassPass, first started her career, wellness was defined by numbers. There were weight loss goals, daily step counts, weekly activity goals. But wellness has undergone a sea change in the last decade, with both people and firms understanding that health goes way beyond counting calories and building up a sweat. On this episode of Productivity Confidential, we talk with Wolfe about the transforming wellness landscape, and how companies are beginning to understand that healthy, happy teams are productive teams.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE PODCAST:
TED BROWN: You’ve seen a lot of different wellness initiatives and programs. What does the landscape of that look like right now? What does wellness look like right now, in the corporate sense?
NICOLE WOLFE: Yeah, that’s a great question. I think when I started, it was a lot about ROI, and ‘how are we going to save healthcare cost?’ And so, a lot of it was physical activity and smoking cessation. Those were the two focus areas.
And I’ve seen it shift much more into this wellbeing space, so Gallup did a big survey. It’s the five elements of wellbeing that they’ve come out with, which has become the cornerstone of a lot of these wellness programs. So that’s emotional wellbeing, financial wellbeing, are you connected back to your community and your workplace? Are you socially connected? Physical is obviously one of those as well.
But it’s really thinking about the whole person, because you can’t walk into the office every day and just compartmentalize certain things, even though a lot of us try to do that. I think a lot of companies are recognizing that you do bring your whole self to work, and you can’t ignore that piece.
BROWN: So Nicole, how has technology played a role in changing corporate wellness? How has it shifted how we think about corporate wellness?
WOLFE: I think technology’s such a good tool, and has helped tremendously when we
think about the corporate wellness space. I think the interesting thing is, technology can also have detrimental effects, as we know. And so, being able to understand and learn from the technology that’s out there is a really important part of these programs. So, thinking about things that … a global workforce, you need global tools. You need to have the reach that you can get to every single person, and that’s done through technology, but at the same time, you want to
be able to give people the opportunity to disconnect from that technology, and that’s one of the things that we’ve found with ClassPass has been interesting, is that we’re enabling people to do these experiences through technology, but they’re forced to disconnect for an hour while they’re at this workout class together.
BROWN: Now, what about flexibility and personalization and customization, when it comes to wellness? How important has that become in a corporate wellness setting?
WOLFE: So, from the big picture, from the corporate wellness side of things, I think we’ve seen that is so key to having an effective program. There’s not a ‘one size fits all’ approach to wellness, and so being able to provide solutions that do fit every lifestyle, every person, is necessary, but it’s hard to do. And so, I think it’s a lot of trial and error for these folks. I mean, the standard engagement rates, at most companies, for wellness is around 20%. If they’re really lucky, 30%. So, how do you engage the remaining 80, 70% of your population that’s not doing this? And so, that’s an age-old question, and if somebody can solve that, we’ll be all happy and millionaires. But I think that’s a challenge.
And then, as far as the class pass side of things with the flexibility piece, we really customize it for that employer. And that’s one of the cornerstones of our program. The pricing’s customizable, the experience is customizable, it’s all based on what their needs are. If they have people in different locations, we can create challenges with them, and so trying to figure out different ways that they can engage with each other, in a different capacity. And it might not be 100% of the population, but even if you get 10, 20, 30% of them, that’s a win for a lot of these companies.