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All in the Wrist: The Rise of Workplace Wearables

Posted on March 27, 2015

Mike Tinney FIXDr. Keith Kantor, CEO of nutrition consultancy Service Foods, had an enviable problem: his workers were too healthy. The 100-or-so employees of the Norcross, GA-based company were a wellness-minded bunch to begin with, and the programs Kantor put in place -- "lunch and learn" sessions about eating healthy and Biggest Loser-style contests -- pulled in as much as 70 percent of the staff. Most employers would consider this a success, and Kantor figured he had hit the ceiling of wellness engagement among his workforce.

Then the zombies arrived.

Mike Tinney, CEO of Fitness Interactive eXperience (FIX), a gaming and fitness company, approached Kantor about beta testing a new program developed by his company. It took a typical pedometer challenge, gave it a team-based, social media-oriented twist, and added in a pack of hungry zombies to gamify the whole thing, letting it unfold in "chapters" that made participants more likely to check back in -- and exercise more.

The program, called "A Step Ahead: Zombies," lasted five weeks, allowing workers to sync into the game using the wearable fitness device of their choice -- Fitbit, Garmin Vivofit, or a number of others. It seemed like a fun idea, so Kantor gave it a shot, expecting the usual 70-percent-or-so level of participation. But for the first time, he saw interest jump even higher.

"It increased engagement by 25 percent," says Kantor. "I thought I was doing pretty well, getting 70-odd percent engagement, but it turns out even more people are interested in running away from a zombie than listening to a dietician explain the dangers of celiac disease."

Read the rest at Incentive.

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