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David Osborne and Rajiv Kumar, M.D., Discuss the Future of Wellbeing at Work

June 17, 2019 / Corporate Wellness

Written By: Jennifer Cook

In a recent podcast, Virgin Pulse CEO David Osborne and Chief Medical Officer and President of the Virgin Pulse Institute, Rajiv Kumar, M.D., sat down with Ryan PicarellaPresident of the Wellness Council of America (WELCOA), to discuss wellbeing at work and what the future holds. 

The New Balance of Wellbeing at Work

According to David Osborne, wellbeing at work has evolved from a nice-to-have to a necessity. For years, the social contract meant employers provided a paycheck and health insurance for employees and little more. But higher levels of competition in today’s candidate-driven marketplace and rising healthcare costs, particularly in the U.S., have made it difficult for employers to maintain the status quo.  

This new dynamic has created a workforce that expects much more from their employer. Dr. Kumar believes a workplace wellbeing program tells employees: “We care about you and your family and their wellbeing, and we’re going to help you stay healthy. Or if you get sick, we’re going to help you get back on a path to good health — and we’re investing in you.” This is important because employers are well-poised to make a positive change in the physical, mental, and financial wellbeing of their employees. And in return, they’ll see positive gains in their engagement and productivity.   

Dispersed Workforces Require Custom Solutions

woman working in sunny office

Technology has changed the traditional office modelcreating remote employees located all across the globeHaving a dispersed workforce can be challenging for employers when implementing wellbeing initiatives. While technology can also solve this issue, Osborne stresses that a “one-stop-shop or one-size-fits-all” strategy won’t work when trying to reach different cultures and populations. A wellbeing program must have the capability to be tailored to specific needs in order to succeed in reaching an entire population on a global scale.  

Dr. Kumar points out that the human touch — through the support of coaches and clinicians — is also an important component for success when dealing with a global workforce: “We can’t just rely solely on technology if we want to engage people, if we want to help them change their behavior, if we want to support them on their journey.”   

What the Future Holds

“This is a broken system,” Osborne said of the U.S. healthcare system. “It’s not fixable, so you have to innovate over the top of it.” As it continues to get more expensive and complex, Osborne predicts wellbeing programs will continue to evolve and employers will utilize them more strategically to combat healthcare issues.   

“We’re going to see more consolidation in this industry,” Dr. Kumar believes, and the power of big data will be unharnessed to create “ultimate personalization and therefore much higher efficacy.”  

To learn more about the future of wellbeing at work, listen to David Osborne and Dr. Rajiv Kumar’s WELCOA podcast below!

About The Author

Jennifer Cook is a senior copywriter at Virgin Pulse. Her passions include sarcasm, hockey, dogs, queso, and being left alone to read.

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