How To Use Workplace Gamification To Improve Employee Wellness

Gamification is everywhere. It has entered into the digital world so effortlessly that we often don’t even realize that we are using it.

Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

Video gaming is one of the most profitable entertainment industries in the world.

When Ralph Baer released the “Brown Box,” (the first-ever game designed for commercial use) in 1967, he said, “The minute we played ping-pong, we knew we had a product.”

Naturally, gaming became an instant hit. The nature of the games sparked competition among players. They were soon chasing high scores and getting determined to mark their space at the top of the leaderboard.

The concept of gamification takes leverage of this very phenomenon.

Gamification basically is adding bits and pieces of games to non-gaming situations. When these elements are added, any program becomes more engaging and fun.

Gaming elements such as leaderboards, badges, and scores infuse any digital journey with clear goals, motivating rewards and healthy competition.

And right now is the best time to invest in workplace gamification.

Workplace gamification and wellness

Businesses are leveraging gamification in various functions to boost engagement and productivity. From learning and training programs to customer support to employee engagement tools, workplace gamification has touched all aspects of modern business.

It has proven to enhance interactions, drive productivity and stronger collaboration. More than that, it adds a lot of fun to our mundane tasks and improves engagement. Gaming mechanics make any wellness program more interactive, fun and motivates the users to complete their tasks without draining them out.

In the past decade, improving the well-being of employees in the workplace has gathered significant momentum in the HR industry.

A healthy outside starts from the inside. Promoting health and wellness is now an integral part of fostering an engaged workforce. More and more organizations are adopting best practices to promote health in the workplace.

Every dollar invested in a wellness program generates $7 in health care savings – Get Healthy Now, University of Louisville

If there is one area where workplace gamification has emerged as the frontrunner, then it is wellness. Wellness and gamification seem to compliment each other like pasta and cheese.

Now the question remains how to bring them together?

Incorporating workplace gamification and employee wellness

The importance of wellness initiatives in the work cannot be overstated. In 2020 when you’re talking about a complete wellness solution, investing in a corporate health and wellness application is a no-brainer.

Digital health technology is bridging the gap between gamification and wellness goals. From wearable sensors to wellness mobile applications that use competitions and challenges to promote health and wellness, the presence of gaming elements is ubiquitous.

Some useful tips for creating a gamified fitness program:

  • Keep it simple, easy-to-understand and achievable
  • Create challenges, contests, and competitions at regular intervals
  • Monitor and track progress with real-time data and statistics
  • Encourage team participation to boost peer communication
  • Appreciate positive results with meaningful rewards and incentives

Five years back while we were building our corporate health and wellness application, Vantage Fit, gamification was a key feature that we kept in mind.

Game mechanics helped us in breaking down our long term health tasks into smaller and achievable goals. Since the ideal persona of our application is a desk-bound employee working in a big corporation, gamification helps tremendously in getting them hooked to the fitness app. They basically help in converting passive users into active participants.

Let’s say we wanted to encourage the habit of walking among users, we gamified the task by asking them to complete 7000 steps 5 times a week. Naturally, participation shot up and we could see some desired change.

Vintage Fit health monitor app for gamification in the workplace

Next, we took the application of gamification one step higher with the incentivization feature of the program.

Incentivisation gives leaders the power to encourage positive results by offering reward points on completion of tasks.

5 Ways workplace gamification can help enhance wellbeing

  1. Drive Motivation: When it comes to physical wellness, the initial phase of the journey is often the most difficult. People need a huge amount of motivation to stick to their regime. Gamification does exactly that. Certain behaviors that initially seem difficult, boring and tedious can be made fun.
  2. Habit Formation: Gamification is proven to promote desired behavioral change. Keeping track of saved levels, self-paced repetitions and picking from where they had left in the fitness journey, gives an extra push to users to carry on with their efforts. It slowly turns actions into habits.
  3. Sense of Progress: With gamification, the users don’t lose track of their progress. When employees interact in the platform, the virtual rewards they earn or the levels they unlock appear on the news feed. It gives them a clear-cut idea about where they stand in their mission and how far they’ve come in achieving the health goals.
  4. Community-driven engagement: Encouraging healthy competition is one of the biggest advantages that gamification has to offer. Gamified platforms offer a brilliant place for participants to support each other’s development. Colleagues get to celebrate each other’s achievements and imbue community spirit. Peer engagement will guarantee the success of the wellness program. Additionally, it will enhance peer-to-peer communication within the organization.

Final words

Gamification is a tool that is proven to meet consumer expectations. It makes mundane and boring tasks fun and engaging.

Wellness in the workplace has been a favorite topic in the human resource landscape for quite some time now. Mobile applications coupled with gamification can be the most effective way to actually promote wellness in the workplace.

What is great about this proposition is that leaders can play an important role in this journey. Employees truly feel valued and cared for by the leaders and the organization as a whole.

In the long term, this translates to reduced absenteeism, a decrease in health care costs, improved employee engagement and an overall healthy company bottom line.

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