New Startup Brings Gamification to Workplaces

Small Business Canada

Reward-based apps proven to increase physical activity by 23%

A new app is allowing workplaces to create wellbeing challenges with rewards – a strategy that has been proven to increase physical activity. No Big Deal was started by a Canadian entrepreneur in Luxembourg. Later this month, he will introduce the app to Canadian audiences at the Collision Conference in Toronto.

The app comes at a time when HR teams are recognizing that employees’ well-being is no longer a perk, but a long-term strategy for creating healthy, happy and more engaged and productive teams. And while employee wellness programs generally prove beneficial in improving health indicators, one study focused specifically on gamification found that subjects who used reward-based or competitive apps increased their physical activity by an impressive 23 per cent. Additionally, Gamification can produce a sustained change in users’ behaviour and activity levels.

Unlike other wellness gamification apps, No Big Deal prioritizes emotion as the basis of all activities. Users can enter their mood (happy, sad, etc.) and an activity is personalized to their emotions. For example, someone who may be sad might only be challenged with a very short walk or a meditation, while someone who is happy or feeling energetic would be challenged with a run. “The app is very empathetic,” explains Nigel Bergstra, Co-Founder of No Big Deal. Some days it’s hard to just go for a walk. When you let the app know you are having a bad day, it changes the look and feel; how it speaks to you; the tone in which it communicates and the mini challenges it sends you,” he adds.

Challenges can be individual or among teams, and rewards can be personal or geared toward social good. For example, one beauty company in Europe rewards employees who run 5km by planting a tree in the rainforest on their behalf.

Why are wellness programs essential in workplaces:

–          81.5 per cent of employees participating in digital wellness programs experienced improvements for a wide range of health indicators across 30 months, according to a 2021 study by the Institute of Health Economics.

–          500,000 Canadians miss work every week due to mental illness, according to CAMH.

–          workplace wellness programs can result in 28% less sick days and 26% less health costs according to the Institute for Healthcare Consumerism in the US.

No Big Deal is one of two Canadian-Luxembourgish companies taking part at Collision and part of a larger Luxembourg delegation visiting Toronto and Canada in the coming weeks to strengthen relationships with the country. The delegation is headed by Minister of the Economy Franz Fayot and His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Guillaume.

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