Last week we found out on Twitter that Aetna, an American managed health care company based in Hartford, Connecticut, began to pay a bonus to staff members if they sleep sufficiently. Of course, as a healthcare company, they have to practice what they preach to their customers. So CEO Mark Bertolini decided that they want to motivate their employees to be more healthy by sleeping “properly,” so they could be more productive and make better decisions.
How does the program work?
If you sleep more than seven hours per night, your sleep is counted as healthy rest. For every 20 nights with healthy rest, the Aetna employees are rewarded with $25 up to an annual maximum of $300. The nights don’t need to be consecutive in order to be counted. It’s absolutely okay to have a bad night or to take care of your children if you’re a parent. Also, minor disruptions like going to the toilet or grabbing a drink do not disqualify you as long as you achieve your 7 hours of actual sleep.
The data can be captured by a Fitbit wearable device, or it can be provided manually by the staff. The Aetna management trusts their employees enough to allow that, as they feel nobody will abuse the program by providing invalid sleep data. This is, however, not the only program motivating staff to live more healthily. With other initiatives, employees can earn another $200 per year, summing up to a yearly bonus of $500, if you live a healthy life and sleep enough.
Mark Bertolini, the CEO of Aetna, is a sleep and health evangelist just like Arianna Huffington too. As a CEO, he needs to take care of the staff as well as the economic aspects of the company. Some might be wondering why he cares so much about the health of the staff beyond a common level. However, there is a clear return on invest to this initiative. People who are well-rested are not only in a better mood, but have better ideas, collaborate better, are possibly more productive, and make better decisions. They are estimating to save about $3000 per person and per year on the increased productivity and the decisions made by staff and management.
Some are very conscious about their privacy, and things like sharing biological data with their employer are not among the things they would like to do. The initiative is only optional, and you don’t need to participate if you are not feeling comfortable with an aspect of this. There is a certain risk that an employer might abuse such data for whatever reason, but this would not be legal in most countries of the world. Regardless of that, from a technological point of view, the same risk exists if you are provided with a smartphone by your employer. There is no evil technology, and everything else is a matter of HR and legal compliance.
Aetna is one of the nation’s leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 36.3 million people with information and resources to help them make better-informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional, voluntary, and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life, and disability plans, and medical management capabilities and health care management services for Medicaid plans. Our customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups, and expatriates. (About text provided by Aetna)
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