The Healthy Enterprise

Den Howlett Profile picture for user gonzodaddy August 31, 2013
We're all being encouraged to lead healthier life styles but what if those could be tied to our work? What if business took an active role in promoting healthier lifestyles and tied that to topics like employee management and insurance? Wouldn't that be cool?

den health
Almost everyone I know is engaged in some kind of fitness regime. It's as if the world and his dog have woken up to the fact that - at least in the west - and despite our relative wealth, we lead shitty, deeply unhealthy lives.

In tandem, I'm starting to hear stories about what I term the 'Healthy Enterprise.' It's an intriguing concept but one where consumer can meet enterprise in novel ways.

Nike stands out as the company that has cleverly linked the sale of goods to a healthier lifestyle. The Fuel Band for example can serve as a constant reminder of the amount of exercise you take, your calorie burn rate and of course, time of day. The UP Jawbone tells you about your exercise progress, sleep patterns and, if you feed it the right data, can let you know about calorie intake Tie that device to Withings software and you can get a more complete picture of your health including weight (loss or gain), heart rate and air quality where it is situated.

There are many other devices and software that do variations of the same theme. Most include a social component where you can share your progress. or lack thereof with others or the world if you so choose. The problem with this is that health - and especially weight -are incredibly sensitive topics in a world where XL Slim Fit is a 'size' but not one fat buggers like me would recognise. Or where 'Island Modern Fit' at Tommy Bahama means...errr...a size smaller then they say.

On the other hand, the encouragement offered by these devices and software is far from intimidating. Being told for example that your average sleep is 5hrs 35 mins but that 7 hours might make me more alert is a positive affirmation. Tell your friends? Unless like me you have a reputation for having no sleep then it could be one of those factoids you'd rather not share.

But what if the sharing of those kinds of fact was among work colleagues? What if that same sharing was also tied to company sponsored or offered fitness programs? Or how about if the company was able to persuade an insurance company to part fund the acquisition of devices and the development of software designed to promote healthier lifestyles? Is that a stretch? Not at all.

While traveling this past week I came across a company that's doing just that. It's handing out UP Jawbones to 100 employees and building an internal Chatter app that ties back to the UP via the Jawbone API. How cool is that? I was gobsmacked. Of course there is much more to it than that but when you think about it for a minute it's such a logical thing yet it takes a touch of genius to join those kinds of dot. There is more to follow on this as I get more concrete information about the program, so take this as a placeholder to mull over.

What I can say personally is that using these devices and software has made me painfully aware of just how unhealthy a lifestyle I really lead, especially in the areas of sleep and exercise. That in turn means I am working on lifestyle changes. It's never too let's see where this goes.

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