We love Google Docs and Excel as much as the next group, but at some point, organizations need to realize that these technologies, which have historically made us more efficient, cause us to think that they will make everything we do more efficient. The examples of this false expectancy are evident in numerous areas, including corporate wellness. Employers across the world rely on “healthy competition” to drive employee engagement and participation in fun wellness challenges. These challenges are often managed by internal personnel and require employees to manually log their healthy behaviors (the latter results in lower engagement and lower quality data in addition to unnecessary expenses but that is a topic for another post).

Although using spreadsheets seems like a low cost way to launch a wellness challenge, a deep dive into the numbers shows that employers end up spending lots money on these challenges through the time and energy needed to report data and manage the program. When presented with these costs, most employers are quick to agree, but in the interest of being completely thorough and dismissing some myths, below is a quick analysis of the hidden costs associated with managing a wellness challenge through spreadsheets.


With a group of just 100 active participants, total costs to run a wellness challenge is nearly $9,000. This assumes program management only takes 30 minutes per day, which includes creating and distributing communications, onboarding users, and providing ongoing support, as well as two minutes per day for employees to log their activity. Employers lose $77.28 in productivity annually to employee reporting alone! If an employer can find a vendor to manage their program for less than $77.28, it is a no brainer to outsource management of the wellness challenge. Although many vendors charge obscene amounts for their programs or do not price per active participant, which make wellness spreadsheets make economic sense, that is not the case for all wellness companies. Options to outsource your wellness challenge and save money do exist, and in most cases, you will get a better program and realize savings.

These wellness organizations that are ideal for employers should provide programs that drive additional engagement through easier-to-use solutions. Automated tracking, mobile friendly, and other great features will make participation easier for employees and result in greater engagement.

So at the risk of sounding condescending, we ask you a simple question. If we told you could have better wellness results and save money, is that something you might be interested in?

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