Many people use applications (apps) as a way to become organized, track data and receive feedback. There are an incredible number of wellness specific apps that have been designed to make health and wellness easier. In fact, a quick search for "wellness" in an app store may leave you feeling very overwhelmed with the sheer number of choices on offer.

So, how do you know which wellness apps will be best suited for your workplace wellness plan? All of them have value and merit, but there are some which have really been created with the health and wellness needs of employees in mind. (Learn more in A Step-by-Step Guide to Helping Employees Set Personal Wellness Goals). Let's take a look at eight apps to consider using in conjunction with your workplace wellness plan

1. The 7 Minute Workout

Employees may not always have time to stop and do an hour long workout during the day. That's where an app like this can be really valuable. Most people can find seven minutes to get sweaty and you may even allocate time for these as a team.

The seven minute workout app has 72 exercises, 22 workouts, and multiple intensity levels to choose from. They also have a "smart" workout option which is personalized to the individual and adapts to their fitness level over time.

Free to download in the Apple App Store, and also on Google Play, this app also allows tracking and sharing of progress. Overall it's a great option to help employees to fit exercise into a busy lifestyle or even just take a stretch and exercise break.

2. Endomondo

Endomondo is another free fitness app designed to help the user stay focused and motivated. It helps the user to create a plan and set targets based on what their fitness goals are.

Described as being a "personal trainer in your pocket", Endomondo provides real time feedback on how the user is doing with their fitness. It will let them know if they're falling behind on their goal, or if they're just about to reach a target.

Like the 7 Minute Workout app, Endomondo allows the user to share their activities with others. This could be shared with a "buddy" or "team" within a workplace wellness program to enable employees to encourage and support each other. Some of the statistics logged by this app include calories burned, miles completed, and fitness improvement.

3. Meditation Studio

On the other end of the spectrum, the Meditation Studio app simplifies meditation to help employees get into a state of relaxation. The app includes over 30 meditation experts who are ready to help the user find a greater sense of peace and happiness. This enables your employees to choose a voice and style that suits them.

Employees can choose a guided meditation specific to their needs, whether that be to improve sleep, decrease anxiety or increase confidence levels. For a deeper look into meditation, they also offer courses. Options to add or remove background music and ambient sounds ensure your employees can create a completely customizable experience to reduce their stress levels and feel better. (Learn more in The Incredible Benefits of Meditation for the Brain That All Companies Need To Understand).

4. Hotseat

The Hotseat app recognizes that many people spend far too much time sitting and that this kind of sedentary work can result in negative consequences for health. (Learn more in The Negative Health Implications of Sitting All Day and What To Do About It). The app is designed to get the body moving in line with personal preferences, time available, and personal fitness levels.

Short breaks from sitting get turned into fun and meaningful activity that can be shared with others. Your employees will only need a couple of minutes, a few times per day to make use of this workplace specific wellness app. Hotseat will even review the calendar availability of employees and slot in a few two minute breaks throughout the day. The employee will then be gently but consistently nudged to get up and move.

5. MyFitnessPal

My Fitness Pal is one of the most well known and popular health and fitness apps available, and it's completely free. A good option for employees who want to lose weight, this app can help them by providing a free calorie counter for over five million foods. Overall, the app provides an easy way to count calories and track food intake. It also helps users to track calories burned from doing specific exercises.

6. Virgin Pulse

The free Virgin Pulse wellness app allows employees to track progress across a number of health and fitness markers including activity levels, sleep patterns, calories burned and steps taken. The app offers milestones, rewards, and the ability to share statistics with others.

7. Whil

Whil offers digital resilience training specifically for workplace wellness programs. They support 12 aspects of employee wellbeing with more than 250 programs and 1500 audio/video sessions centred on mindfulness, emotional intelligence and positive psychology.

This comprehensive program includes:

  • Customizable digital, video and print resources
  • Guidance for group facilitators
  • An administrator dashboard to monitor progress
  • Leadership education
  • A community focus including points and rewards

With the ability to integrate into all major EAP, LMS and corporate wellness platforms, Whil is one of the most comprehensive and workplace specific apps on offer.

8. Sprout

Like Whil, Sprout goes beyond the offerings of a basic smartphone app. The platform has been designed specifically to align with workplace wellness programs. Described as an "all-in-one health and wellness platform," Sprout focuses on the following areas to cultivate healthy behaviors:

  • Just-in-time communications, user generated content and authentic connections to increase employee engagement and participation
  • Social interactions, rewards and incentives to celebrate employee accomplishments
  • A "gaming" style platform to make health and wellness fun through goals, challenges and activity tracking
  • A wellness portal to meet all the health and wellness needs of your company

Both Whil and Sprout are premium wellness offerings that go well beyond the basic offerings of the previous smartphone apps listed. Employers can request a demo on either platform to find out more.

A few considerations for using apps in the workplace

  • Some employees will love using apps. Others may want to switch off devices where they can and might not want to use one. Make sure participation is optional.
  • Provide options for apps based on each employee's goals and preferences. Consider creating small teams around different apps. One team might use the 7 Minute Workout app and another might use the Hotseat app, for example.
  • Note that some employees may not have smartphones. Consider providing a workplace smartphone for employees who wish to use one but don't have their own.
  • Some employees may be interested in using a wellness app but may lack the technical know-how around using them. Plan to hold information sessions to educate employees on how to use their app.