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  • Andrew Stephenson

The Enhanced Value of Onsite Health Coaching

Picture of a health coach talking to an industrial worker.

How easy do you find it to delete an email or ignore a call from a number you don't recognize? Do you find it as easy to ignore a person standing in front of you with a smiling face? The anonymity of digital contact along with the way it is lost amongst our modern volume of content makes it far easier to push aside and tune out.

There's absolutely a place for digital health resources and for those that utilize them, they can be highly efficient and productive. But are they the best option? The problem is, the people who tend to use them are the ones who are already interested in health, and the people who need the most health education, intervention, and support, rarely self-engage or respond with digital outreach in a productive way.

While enhancing access to information and ease of communication, modern technology has also contributed to the erosion of social connections and is part of a broader, multifaceted construct contributing to increased loneliness. Engaging in digital environments often replaces deeper, more meaningful interactions with superficial and often transactional exchanges.

Continued normalization of remote work and less frequent community and neighborhood engagement has further isolated people from face-to-face interactions. The absence of informal, spontaneous interactions has diminished a sense of community and belonging both in and out of the workplace.

The rise in loneliness is well documented, and it's not surprising that it is correlated to similar declines in our collective wellbeing. Loneliness has negative effects on physical and mental health, can lead to depression, anxiety, and is linked to a host of other physical and mental health risks and disorders. It also conditions people to be less trusting, more judgmental, and less likely to be vulnerable when they do interact with others.

For the past couple of decades, HBD has pioneered onsite health coaching and truly integrated workplace health and wellbeing programming. We've found repeatedly, regardless of industry and work environment, that the consistency with which employees willingly engage with health coaches who visit them where they work drastically beats other health coaching models, averaging >90% of all employees routinely interacting with health coaches on an ongoing basis (without incentives), and significant changes in employee population health risks and behavior.

The value of these interactions has only been enhanced in recent years as more and more people experience technology fatigue while simultaneously craving (and needing) more quality interpersonal connection.

Some things we've always known about the value of in-person onsite wellness coaching, that have only increased in value in our modern work environment:

  • Quality of Communication: In-person interactions are richer and more nuanced than digital contact. They allow for more range in non-verbal cues which are essential for empathy and effective communication. In-person cues improve emotional connection which leads to more meaningful, inspiring, and satisfying interactions.

  • Build Trust and Relationships: Face-to-face interactions build trust and stronger relationships. Physical presence fosters connection and trust that is difficult to achieve through screens. Being physically present enhances empathy and understanding through things like shared environmental experience and direct eye contact. Something we hear repeatedly from clients is that they trust and appreciate the information from our onsite coaches - more-so than remote contact - because they feel the coach better understands the worker's reality, their environment and demands... that they are "in the trenches" with them as opposed to giving advice from an external and unrealistic perspective.

  • Mental Health Benefits: We know in-person interactions contribute to mental wellbeing. They can reduce stress and anxiety, increase happiness, and promote a sense of belonging. These are ALL things that employers are currently struggling with: mental health, stress, burnout, and a sense of belonging... the presence of onsite health coaches who are routinely checking in with employees helps foster all of these things.

At a time when employers are struggling with supporting employee mental wellbeing and engagement, while also continuing to battle traditional health risks and cost management, the value of proven, efficient, integrated onsite health coaching support is potentially worth more now than ever.

Is it time you reconsidered whether integrated health coaching could enhance your employee's ability to thrive? To see examples of program outcomes or learn more about HBD's health coaching models and experience in integrated holistic workplace health programming, reach out or send a message via the contact form.


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