Last week we gave everybody in the Ruder Finn UK office wireless activity and sleep trackers. Fitbits. I don’t think that’s anything new. We are far from the first company to do that, and I know at least two other PR agencies who have done the same. The importance of this is not in the gesture; it’s in the motive.
Call me a bad employer, but it’s not to make our staff healthier. Of course, that’s an additional benefit – deskbound jobs are not great for the body or the mind, and any encouragement to move about is a good thing. But this is more about opportunity.
Digital health is already big and it is only in its infancy. It will change the way people look at themselves and their lifestyles. It will forge links between healthcare professionals and patients. It will (hopefully) stop me having to read daily articles like this and this.
That’s why we recently launched our global digital health practice. With extremely strong teams in healthcare, technology and digital disciplines this makes sense.
But success is about attitude as well as opportunity and ability (to paraphrase what a wiser man than me recently said). Unless people start immersing themselves in this area and seeing the possibilities of new technology they will never be able to embrace it, get passionate about it and (of course) sell the benefits.
So it’s an immersion programme, masquerading as free gifts for staff. But I’m not ashamed of that. The enthusiastic reaction we’ve had on the floor, and the competitive streak it has fostered (trying to walk more steps than your team members seems to be strangely motivating to some people) show that sometimes just opening a door slightly is enough to stimulate their curiosity.
And if you’re curious about where this space is going, here’s a report our New York colleagues put together on mobile health trends in the US market.