It’s time for a shakeup to the current way employers are offering wellness programs. We believe a wellness Renaissance is coming. Here’s why, and what you can expect:
The Dark Clouds
- Commoditization. Providers use similar standards and procedures that depend upon health risk assessments and the data derived from them. The result is the wellness community moves in a procedural lock step, limiting creativity and innovation.
- Focus on incentives. Most employees don’t participate in wellness programs without financial incentives, but it remains to be seen if these incentives result in sustainable behavior change.
- Privacy regulation. People using workplace wellness services are increasingly being perceived as “patients” with all the associated protections.
- Perception of failure. It’s easy to confuse population health issues with workplace wellness effectiveness, and the U.S. population has become increasingly unhealthy.
The Bright Rays
Important trends are giving wellness entrepreneurs great opportunities:
- Mass acceptance of social media. People are more connected than ever, and they want to feel a sense of purpose. Social media can help employees tap into local communities in new and creative ways, focusing on friendship and fun.
- Interest in the environment. People want to reconnect with nature — to get outside and active.
- Focus on education. Improving the intellectual and physical development of children will be a top priority in many households, schools and communities, supported by grassroots efforts and national initiatives.
- Changing demographics. “Baby Boomers” are looking for new experiences and causes as they seek rewarding ways to become more mobile and independent.
The New Day: A Renaissance is Coming
To Hope Health, it feels like the wellness profession is where the medical profession was in the 19th century, before it was aware that germs existed. Here’s what we expect:
- The definition of “wellness” will change or go away. Wellness currently is about primary prevention, secondary prevention and disease management. We’ll raise the bar and talk much more about living to our full potential — more art and less science.
- We’ll stop thinking of wellness as a “business strategy.” It won’t be about the manipulation of data and people. It will be about the celebration of life, and the journey of accomplishment and discovery.
- Knowledge will proliferate horizontally in a community. Hospitals, businesses and other organizations will connect through events, venues and locations — they won’t be confined to the silo of a single building.
- Living healthfully will be intuitive. Health professionals will talk more about very small steps people can take. Recommendations and guidelines for life improvements will be simple, sustainable and highly relevant.