Online tool helps employees fulfill healthy living

A new year often brings with it new health and fitness resolutions. But those fall by the wayside for many people within a few months — or weeks.

Grand Rapids-based The McCahill Group, a company that focuses on health and wellness, is setting out to make it easier for area employees to fulfill their goals of healthy living and maintain their drive through the weeks and months ahead.

The McCahill Group created SparkJoy Wellness, a new online wellness platform launched to target small businesses that do not have the resources to provide their employees with effective and affordable wellness programs, according to Ryan McCahill, chief operating officer for The McCahill Group.

“We’ve been successfully using a customized version of the platform at many client locations over the past several years as a tool to assist our worksite wellness staff to track employee participation, run challenges, provide annual incentive programs, health education, fitness/nutrition tracking tools, etc.,” he said. “However, the initial setup fee to customize the platform has often been a barrier to entry to companies with little to no budget for wellness programming. In addition, we’ve found that the competition in the wellness platform space sometimes won’t even consider providing wellness platform services to groups under 250-500 employees because the profit margins for them are so low.”

As a result, the company is helping smaller employers that have a staff size as low as five employees or fewer that can provide both a return and value in employer investment, McCahill said.

Some of the health options SparkJoy provides are health coaching programs, mobile app access and health resources that focus on nutrition and fitness, stress-reduction, financial wellness and community engagement.

McCahill said there also is a new feature, which is an internal intranet capability that HR can use for a variety of functions like tracking sick leave, communicating with employees and linking employee handbooks.

“Again, (it is) a tool that most big companies have but smaller companies can’t always afford,” he said. “The small business market is extremely underserved when it comes to providing employee wellness but, obviously, deserve the benefits just as much as the large companies do.”

Whether it’s a small company or a large company, Americans worked an average of 8.06 hours per day, a little over 40 hours per week, in 2017, according to the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Some employees spend their workday in offices around desks and on computers, with little time to visit the gym or go to wellness centers to focus on their own health.

While the firm has many clients since the new program launched last fall, McCahill said 2019 will be a time of emphasis on SparkJoy and making connections with more of West Michigan’s smaller employers.

“We hope this will be an effective solution to get a wellness program in place and then let companies add more options over time like in-person lunch … and fitness classes, etc.,” he said.

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