New app to get employees moving for mental and physical wellbeing

Date: 06/08/2021
Author: University of Salford Business School
Company: University of Salford Business School

A new smartphone app which aims to support physical and mental wellbeing for employees has just launched.

FanFit, which is already keeping supporters of sports clubs active, has now been adapted for businesses and corporations to use. The app encourages users to incorporate exercise into their daily routine in a fun, competitive way without the need for extra tech or gadgets, just a smartphone.

Dr Alex Fenton, of the University of Salford Business School, has created the app, which allows staff to record their steps every day while taking part in some friendly competition with their colleagues. It also allows companies to link up with charities and make donations based on the number of steps staff achieve.

Alex said: “Healthy workers are more productive workers. It feels like a good time for this, because we've been so isolated and struggling to keep up our physical activity and motivation.”

The app is based around Alex’s FanFit app, which follows a similar structure to this, though aimed at sports clubs and the concept of combining fandom and exercise. Currently Rangers FC and Salford Red Devils are using the app, with each club having its own bespoke version. Fans of those clubs have taken millions of steps so far.

“Obviously, physical and mental wellbeing is a real challenge,” Alex added. “So, I think for this version, we've moved away from this idea of simply recording steps for prizes and more to the idea that we're sorted in terms of our physical and mental wellness.”

The app is capable of setting up friendly competition among teams and departments of any company which wants to get involved. All it takes is a share code to set up.

“We can create a bespoke design and app for any company that wants to get their staff more active. One thing we learnt from FanFit was that people were looking to chat in the app private leagues rather than making a separate WhatsApp group outside of it,” Alex said. “So, this time, we’ve developed a chat function to encourage communication. I think it will help with creating a community and encouraging people to do more.”

Of course, not everybody enjoys competing with others, so there is also the option to set personal targets and track your own progress.

Alex shared: “If you're not into competition, you can set yourself a personal target and work on that. Everybody’s motivated in a different way. Whether you're a competitive type of person or not, there's an opportunity to just give yourself a little bit of motivation.”

The app works with a basic smartphone, integrates with Garmin wristbands and can also work with other major bands including Fit Bit and Apple Watch.

For more information and to get your business involved contact Alex on a.fenton@salford.ac.uk