Taryn West, Program Manager for the Healthy@Work wellness program at MultiCare Health System, faced a common challenge during the COVID pandemic: MultiCare’s onsite wellness offerings were canceled, which included more than 500 annual exercise classes offered free to more than 19,000 employees. “We had to figure out how we could support our employees’ physical activity … how we could get them moving throughout the day, and do that in a safe way.” Taryn turned to her network for help.
“I belong to the Redesigning Wellness Facebook group,” explains Taryn. “I posted a question about virtual fitness and asked if anyone had recommendations.” Wellbeats was mentioned by multiple members and was therefore included when Taryn reached out to five providers. “I met with the vendors and saw their demos, and Wellbeats stood out. The people I met with were really responsive in answering my questions.”
Taryn used a Wellbeats demo account to try the classes herself. “I like the wide variety of classes and the way the website is structured,” she says. “It’s easy to find what you’re looking for. The videos are very professional and they also have mindfulness classes and nutrition content. It seemed like it was a really good fit.”
Wellbeats made it easy for MultiCare to incorporate virtual fitness classes into its existing wellness program on its Cerner platform, and to provide the reporting Taryn needs. “They were able to work with me to make sure that employees participating in Wellbeats can earn points for our program. That was a big selling point for me, too; just the ease of how everything would work.”
Wellbeats is one of 10 wellness offerings that MultiCare employees may choose to earn program points toward a premium reduction. “Adding Wellbeats in place of those onsite exercise classes we had to cancel has given our employees a great option for being physically active and getting rewarded for that,” says Taryn. MultiCare employees have responded. “Initially, our goal was 10 percent enrollment by the end of the year,” says Taryn. “We hit our mark already.”
In the first five months, Wellbeats enrollment increased steadily and exceeded 11% of eligible employees in May. “If we can reach 12 percent by the end of the year, I’ll be really pleased,” says Taryn.
MultiCare uses “all of the tools in our toolbox” to promote Wellbeats to its workforce, plus leverages its network of 35 wellness champions. “We use internal emails, flyers, intranet postings, Facebook postings – we have our own Healthy@Work Facebook group – and, we send information to the wellness champions throughout our system and ask that they distribute to their teams.”
The addition of Wellbeats was especially valuable this past year. “Being a healthcare organization during a pandemic, we wanted to make sure we were doing everything we could to support the overall wellbeing of our employees,” says Taryn. “Exercise is a great stress reliever. If you’re having a stressful day, you can take a mindfulness class or a yoga class or even a dance class to help reduce stress. It’s definitely been a benefit to a lot of people.”
“Wellbeats has reduced barriers [as a virtual offering accessible through an app or online],” says Taryn. “It offers more variety for people who may have been interested in doing a yoga class but never went because they were hesitant to try something new in a room full of their fellow employees. Now they can do it in the comfort of their own home.”
Not only did Wellbeats satisfy the need for online exercise classes, but nutrition and mindfulness classes are also an added bonus. “Wellbeats has made our program more well-rounded,” says Taryn. “It has helped support our employees in a very uncertain time and has given many employees a way to stay active or even become active if they weren’t already. We’re able to reach a lot more employees than before and to accommodate more requests. I just think Wellbeats is a great addition.”