Community Building And Technology: Encouraging Healthier Lifestyles


We live in a world where value is added through experience.

Flexible workspace operators have known this for some time now; it’s one of the reason why the workspace-as-a-service industry identifies strongly with hospitality. Yet it’s not just flexible workspace that is striving to offer a better experience to workers; companies are doing their part as well.

“Understanding and improving the employee experience is critical for companies operating in a highly competitive global economy,” said Kate Taylor in an article for Business Insider. “Providing an engaging experience will help companies succeed in attracting and retaining skilled employees.

“A strong employee experience also drives a strong customer experience.”

Dr. Marie Puybaraud, Global Head of Corporate Research at JLL, strongly addressed the issue of experience in the workplace in JLL’s study, “Workplace, powered by Human Experience”.

Puybaraud proposed that companies have a Chief Happiness Officer, “someone to act as the custodian of their (employees’) well-being.” All because, HX workplace is “about creating communities, creating territories where people can come together, collaborate, and be creative.”

JLL’s study focuses on design and organizational culture. You can read more about that here and here. The study also addressed the subject of technology, and how it can help create stronger, more engaged communities.

In “The employee experience: culture, engagement, and beyond”, Josh Bersin, Jason Flynn, Art Mazor, and Veronica Melian wrote that:

“Employees expect not only a better-design experience but new models of delivery. In a world where employees can manage much of their lives on a handful of smartphone apps, they expect every element of their employee experience, from work to development to rewards, to be accessible and easy to use on their mobile devices.”

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They also wrote that “employees look at everything that happens at work as an integrated experience that impacts daily life in and outside the workplace, including overall physical, emotional, professional, and financial well-being.”

In order to cater to these needs and create the right experience, companies need a new approach. They need to “build on the foundation of culture and engagement to focus on the employee experience holistically.”

All experts agree that engagement is key. Technology and apps can help in creating engagement. However, much of it has been left to messaging apps; and although they do work, these apps often leave out other important aspects of engagement, aspects that if addressed, would help build stronger communities.

As a result, a new type of technology development has emerged. Various tech companies and startups are addressing the challenge of creating apps or platforms that are engaging in a way that encourage people to collaborate, cooperate, and form strong relationships — through the use of their devices, but also in-person.

These apps are closing the gap between technology and human interaction. And at the same time, some of these apps are empowering individuals to lead healthier lives — or at least challenging them to.

One app that is focusing its efforts on community building through technology that encourages people to interact with one another in person is Atlas.

Co-founder Olivier Kaeser says Atlas is a “community-driven app” that seeks to bring people together while donating to a larger cause. It’s a running app (that can also be used for walking or hiking) that allows groups of people or individuals to complete ‘challenges’, and for every mile covered, money is raised.

Companies have created unique challenges for their employees to participate, as well as encouraged employees to propose organizations that they would like the company to sponsor through the app.

Atlas, however, is not alone in its efforts. Other apps that are helping revolutionize corporate culture and the way people interact with one another, while at the same time encouraging healthier lifestyles include FitBit, Hotseat, Wellable, and others.