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If you are a company that landed on a wellness App as your only well-being initiative please read this.

Technology is precious but it’s a partner, not a replacement, to traditional means of taking care of yourself and learning how to do so. Well-being programs need a human touch. 

If you are experiencing a lack of interest in your technological well-being initiatives there could be a clear reason why.

Consider “The gym class rule”.

If you took a student group of 100 and told them they got to play a sport for an hour instead of studying the result would be:

15-25% would say “Amazing!”

15-25% would say “Not interested”

50-70% would say “Which sport?”

The popularity of the sport chosen would then drive participation.

Most of us gravitate to what we already know and what we are good at exploring the new and unusual is not typically our first choice.

This is called the "Mere-exposure effect. It is a psychological phenomenon by which people tend to develop a preference for things merely because they are familiar with them."

In this article, I’m going to explain how “the gym class rule” can be applied to your workplace team. This rule does not only apply to sports but all new experiences.

Since meditation is a relatively accepted wellness practice these days, I’ll use this as our example.

Every journey has a beginning, middle, and end including meditation. I want to illustrate where technology fits in best along the journey.

I intend to help you better understand what elements of well-being programs can be rolled out, how, why, and when. I believe everything has a place but timing is important.

Let’s get on the same page.

When I say well-being initiatives, I mean any physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, and/or environmental health initiatives.

When I say App, I mean any service used on your phone that supports any of the 6 areas above.

Understanding that each App has its own unique set of solutions. Some simply serve as reminders for us to do certain things. Others offer more robust solutions like plans to follow, tracking systems, and group forums.

Today we will explore the question “When companies roll out a meditation app do more people meditate?”

In recent years many companies have rolled out meditation apps giving employees free access.

If the company’s goal is to help as many people meditate as possible, and not just check off the wellness box, launching an App is a great start but not a full solution and here is why.

Even assuming the App is top of the line with all the bells and whistles.

I’m not against apps I love them. I meditate 40 minutes a day, and I use meditation apps myself sometimes. Meditation is hands down the most important self-care tool I have. I am also a meditation instructor both for corporate groups and in-person community classes.

We can confidently state you are never going to get everyone to meditate at your company.

Using the Gym Class Rule philosophy…

25% are “not interested”, totally fair and not a battle we need to fight today.

We want to help them but let’s focus on the other 75% first it's much easier. We have 25% “onboard” and 50% “on-the-fence”.

Let’s talk about the 25% “onboard” first.

No matter what you roll out these people are excited and grateful. You don’t need to tell them why it’s good for them or how to meditate they will figure it out on their own, which is if they don’t already know. And they will use their own time to do it. Generally, excited people are vocal and you will hear “This is an amazing gift!”

Many of these keen meditators will already have an app or two or three as I do.

When measuring positive feedback on your efforts look for upwards of 25% of people using the application if you want to move the needle of health for your team. If not you can assume you are only making the healthy people healthier; or meditators, meditate more.

Excellent but not the full mission. Right!?

The same can be applied to webinar feedback. If you invite 100 people to your webinar, you can expect 20 to 30 people to attend. Aim for more!

Now, let’s consider the “on-the-fence” group.

Some may have dabbled in meditation but lost motivation. Some may have heard great things about the benefits but have never tried. Some may believe they could never do it because they can barely sit still for 5 minutes. Inevitably you will have a mixture of feelings and reactions.

You must step in to motivate and inspire like you would while trying to launch any new work project. And yes, you can compare meditation to work because it is just that “work” at least at the beginning.

How do we motivate and inspire?

Well like any marketing strategy you need to find a common problem to fix, talk to that, then share all the benefits, and teach people how to do it.

Psst….If you are looking for a common problem #stress is a good one.

And low and behold, meditation is good for stress! Benefits: better mood, better sleep, better focus and so much more.

Now put yourself in the shoes of an “on-the-fence” person. If you saw one email or one poster on APP launch day would it motivate and inspire you to meditate? NO. No, it would not.

So you need a kind of campaign if you will. But don’t worry you can make this fun, effective, and affordable.

Wherever you land on your campaign strategy keep it light, emphasize ease, be inclusive, and keep your audience in mind.

What if you brought in a speaker to tell a life-changing story that came from meditation and helped everyone get started?

Or, What if you brought in an expert to explain how the brain physically heals from meditation for the non-believers?

Or, What if you ran a workshop on different types of meditation so people knew they had options?

Or, What if you ran a mini course that explained common roadblocks to meditation so people could navigate their challenges better?

"Apps are no substitute for in-person meditation classes and retreats. The technological aspect is one key reason. People benefit more from mindfulness practice if they are able to enter a serene space. Technology naturally limits that serenity."

Remember the app can get you on the floor and direct you but it’s up to you to do the meditating the app does not do it for you. Just like an app can’t breathe, drink or eat healthy food for you.

Inspiration, encouragement, and support come from #teachers and #community.

Then, what if you offered group sessions once a week for those who needed time carved out for them?

What if group sessions additionally helped your team bond? What if you gave up a little company time to help the team destress?

It would be “amazing” for more than 25% I can tell you that!

Now this is even before everyone knows how to meditate.

What will your workplace be like with a less stressed team!? I’m sure you can see the dream. WOW, what would that be like?

Now you don’t have to give everyone a free App, not every company can afford that. But, if you did layer on this as well I assure you it would be used more with a complete campaign supporting people all along the journey.

When there is already motivation to engage in the #wellness experience Apps are great. This tends to be the beginning and end of the journey. The middle is filled with doubt, challenges, and excuses. Inspiration and support is needed to get over the hump and create the new habit.

Common challenges for bringing well-being practices into our lives are lack of education and lack of time. Companies can provide both and they should because the benefits of having less stressed employees translate into higher productivity and a more enjoyable workplace, not to mention improving employees' lives overall.

We all learn differently. We doubt we can do new things. We don’t all prioritize ourselves.

APPs are a partner, not a replacement, to traditional means of taking care of yourself because not everyone is at the same place on their journey. Some are at the beginning excited and motivated, some are at the end seasoned and disciplined, and some are in the middle challenged and full of doubt.

We don’t want to micro-manage people on their journey but ask yourself what happens when there is no management at all on a project. Is there a positive result?

Want to see what a program could look like for your own team? Email me, Welloga, and let's jump on a call. Meditation is one of many wellness practices and you may need more than 1 or 2 to reach your entire team.

You can apply the "gym class rule", and journey, to any well-being support you are offering to your employees; mental health, physical activity, relationship building, and so on.

The key to a good program is you want to help more than 25% of your team be healthier and offer an assortment of wellness practices to appeal to a greater number of people. And have a campaign for each that supports people all along the journey the beginning, middle, and end.

Embrace Apps but love developing awareness more. Awareness for yourself and those around you so you don't have to rely on anything and you can always be healthy regardless of technological circumstances.

Make your team's health a priority and try something new today!

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