If the last few years have taught us anything, it's that the workforce is increasingly looking for a healthy and fulfilling work-life balance. Employees are now considering factors beyond just their annual salary package when deciding on a job. Well-being in life and the workplace is an essential component of a fulfilling lifestyle. On the other hand, anxiety, stress, and burnout are on the rise in the workplace. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in the USA found that 40% of staff found their job very or extremely stressful.
Conversely, teams that are engaged and fulfilled in their roles tend to be more productive and successful. Enabling employees to face the demands of the highly complex and ever-changing marketplace without experiencing overwhelm and burnout is critical for companies looking to succeed in 2023.
In addition to workplace training programs, several mobile apps are available for businesses to help their employees manage stress, improve their mental and even physical health, and ultimately become more engaged in life and work.
We've put together a list of the best wellness apps for the workplace in 2023. We have chosen these based on their ease of use, effectiveness, and renown for directly impacting workplace well-being. But first, why is employee well-being so essential, and how can it impact a company's overall success?
The Importance of Employee Wellbeing
Previously, employee health and wellness meant setting up safe working environments to prevent injury or accident. Mental well-being was sorely missing from the agenda for the majority of businesses. Increasingly, the importance of employee well-being and its staggering impacts on workplace performance are becoming apparent. Studies have repeatedly shown that workplace well-being has a direct impact on performance and productivity. Encouraging a culture that actively supports well-being significantly impacts a firm, especially when leadership is involved in making the changes.
An observational study conducted by Brent Hamar and published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine in 2015 found that implementing a well-being improvement strategy in a medium-sized firm had a wide range of positive impacts. The study, conducted over two years, found that as well-being improved, employees were more likely to show up to work and had lower health risks. More impressively, it found that all measurements of productivity increased.
It's hard to overstate just how important developing a culture of workplace well-being is for improved productivity and, more importantly, employee health and fulfilment. Luckily, finding ways for employers to engage employees in helping them achieve their health goals, connect with mental health professionals, and improve their mental health, has become significantly more accessible in the last decade.
How Technology Is Empowering Well-being in the Workforce
Before the widespread adoption of applications and online digital platforms in the workplace, companies had to rely on in-person, high-touch programs to improve employee engagement and well-being.
While in the past, Employee Assistance Programs or EAPs provided an outlet for employees to discuss their mental health and any mental health issues such as anxiety and stress, they were often underutilized due to workplace stigma about seeking assistance.
Workplace well-being apps instead provide a self-guided and private outlet for employees to seek out assistance. There is a bevy of options for employers to look into, including mindfulness apps teaching meditation, platforms that provide access to mental health professionals, or total wellness platforms dedicated to a holistic approach to well-being.
For the employer, some apps can allow you to track and analyze workplace engagement and well-being, providing deep and up-to-date insights into the company culture.
With so many options available, knowing which apps are the best fit for your company can be overwhelming. That's why we've compiled a list of the five best well-being apps for a better work-life balance in 2023.
Headspace has become a globally popular mindfulness and meditation app. It's renowned for its effective guided meditations, conducted by the founder Andy Puddicombe, a former Buddhist monk and expert meditator. The app explores a wide range of topics, including stress, sleep, relationships, and general mindfulness. It also allows users to track and record their progress and meditation minutes, making it a gamified experience. Teams can make a habit of encouraging each other to take aside a few minutes of time each day to practice mindfulness, work through particularly relevant topics, and share their experiences.
And it works! A mindfulness intervention study conducted by Wendy Kersemaekers et al. discovered that an organization that created a culture of practicing mindfulness saw an increase in productivity, well-being, and cooperation and a decrease in perceived stress.
While introducing a meditation app won't suit everyone in a diverse organization, the benefits of mindfulness practice are becoming more widely known and accepted. Given the many benefits of mindfulness and the success of Headspace in helping individuals and organizations improve their well-being and performance, it may be worth considering introducing this app as a resource for your team. To learn more, visit the Headspace website or download Headspace from the app store and try it out to familiarise yourself with its features and benefits.
While mindfulness practices are a great preventative for employee burnout, more serious mental health concerns, such as stress, and anxiety, are best handled with professional intervention. With 1 in 5 people experiencing a mental illness within a given year, it's important for workplaces to remove the stigma surrounding mental health issues and seeking out assistance.
Ginger does just that. Similar to other apps such as Talkspace and Betterhelp, Ginger provides 24/7 on-demand access to mental health professionals and resources for people dealing with ongoing issues such as stress, anxiety, and mental health problems. Ginger also includes innovative features that create personalized care plans using the power of machine learning.
By providing discreet but accessible care for people experiencing mental health issues, workplaces can take an active role in creating a healthy and happy workforce. Ginger also provides access to different levels of care depending on your needs and preferences. This can include using apps, speaking with coaches, or undergoing professional mental health therapy.
Silvana Weber et al. conducted a study into the efficacy of app-based interventions in the workplace to improve mental health. They found that employees were less stressed and more productive, even after a 6-week follow-up, showing long-lasting results. So, if you're looking to provide a discreet, personalized, and accessible mental health program for your team, Ginger is a fantastic option.
Happify is a consumer-facing mental wellness app created by Twill, a digital-first healthcare company. Unlike Ginger, which connects you with therapists, coaches, and other mental health professionals, Happify guides users through a series of science-backed activities and games. Happify uses proven psychological therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), positive psychology, mindfulness, psychoeducation, and more.
Users can choose and participate in 'tracks', groups of activities meant to be completed consecutively within a time constraint. Each track comes with a goal, such as 'Building a Stronger Marriage' or 'Finding Calm in Uncertain Times'. Users can therefore explore what activities and areas of focus are relevant to their lives.
By providing your team with a wealth of activities, games, and insights to access when needed will enable them to invest in their well-being in a self-directed way. For staff who may not be ready to talk to a real person, Happify is an excellent alternative for self-directed therapy.
The Resilience App, created by us, the Resilience Institute, is a leading digital toolkit for businesses looking to both measure workplace well-being and provide personalized coaching and guidance for staff. Founded in 2002, the Resilience Institute provides data-driven resilience training for businesses. Resilience, defined as the ability to bounce, grow (including improving well-being), connect and flow is a holistic way to improve all aspects of personal and professional performance.
The app is a digitized version of a framework designed over two decades of helping organizations improve well-being and reduce workplace distress through resilience training. The toolkit provides a number of features to enable staff to fully engage with their resilience journey, including over 40 micro-learning videos, chatbot, 1-minue coaching sessions, goal setting, and more. Employers can track their overall resilience through a 60-factor diagnostic report that is completed confidentially by employees.
When combined with high-touch events such as half and full-day workshops, the Resilience App provides a foundation for developing resilience within a workplace culture.
Countless enterprise organizations have adopted the Resilience App and program, including AXA Insurance, PwC and Shell. If you are looking to create a calm, energetic, focused, and creative workforce, it starts with developing resilience. Contact us today to understand how the Resilience Institute can empower your workforce because we believe that when your people grow, so does your business.
Virgin Pulse is a comprehensive workplace wellness app that incorporates in-app coaching, benefits navigation, and wellness education. The app is a one-stop shop for enterprise businesses looking to create effective internal wellness programs. Virgin Pulse provides a wide range of features.
Your team can access live coaching, book in-person experiences, or even get support with care management reminders personalized to their particular condition. For companies that provide workplace benefits, the app offers a benefits navigator for your staff to understand which providers they can choose and what their allowance is.
While the abundance of features is impressive, Virgin Pulse is best suited for enterprise businesses, especially companies that provide comprehensive benefits schemes for their staff.
There are so many apps, websites, and digital resources to include in your well-being stack. These five provide great features and tools to help empower your workforce with access to healthcare professionals, wellness education, and guided activities.
Providing an App over a traditional EAP program gives your team greater privacy and freedom to engage with and make use of your company initiative at their own pace. Not to mention the improved accessibility that comes with using platforms readily found on the Apple app store. In the next decade, businesses that take wellness, resilience training, and mental health seriously will see a more productive and engaged workforce. A culture that embraces wellness and does away with the stigma of mental health with see an improved ability to bring on talent in the coming years, as the culture amongst the workforce increasingly tends towards work-life balance as a priority.
If you are a business looking for a holistic approach to developing a culture of resilience, and well-being in the workforce, then get in touch, and we can discuss a tailored solution for your organization.