What’s the trendiest way to lose weight these days? It’s going online and playing health games with co-workers. Already, nearly 60% of employers and counting across North America are offering special digital games, modeled after popular sites like “Farmville”, to motivate employees to shape up.
Here’s how it works. You either play individually, or with a team of co-workers, and create an online profile where you earn points for every healthy behavior you do, like how many pieces of fruit you eat, or how many steps you walk. You’re able to compare your progress to every other employee. Then, every few months, companies reward the highest point-earners with perks, ranging from extra vacation days, to cash, to preferred parking spaces, to cars.
For example, 1,000 AOL employees enrolled in a game in which they were challenged to take as many steps as possible over 3 months. And the end of the gaming period, those employees had logged 530 million step, or the equivalent of walking around the globe 10 times!
Companies love health games because the healthier employees are, the less they cost to insure. But experts warn that online workplace health games can create a backlash, since a lot of workers feel pressure to participate. Also, they often feel like every single person in the company is watching every move they make. From what they eat for lunch, to how much they exercise.
But if you’re interested in finding out more about online health games, check out Shapeup.com and rallyon.com.