A health and wellness initiative at an old job allowed me to get a FitBit Zip for way less than the retail price, and everyone was encouraged to participate in coworker FitBit challenges, area 5K races, and the newly launched company softball and soccer leagues. I have since upgraded my FitBit, which means that I got my husband’s old (but better) model when he upgraded his, and while I don’t always put in the recommended 10,000 steps a day, at least I always know how many I did manage to log. Consumer technology company Wiivv Wearables Inc., of the famed Custom Fit 3D Printed Insoles and Custom Fit Sandals, recently launched its own Employee Wellness program after a successful pilot program. However, the program is not for its own employees, but rather for workers who spend all day on their feet.
The Vancouver- and San Diego-based company creates custom-fit footwear products through its app, and smashed not one, but two, Kickstarter campaign records. After the campaign ended for Wiivv’s Custom Fit Sandal, which was the most funded 3D printed product ever on the crowdfunding site, the company fulfilled a campaign commitment by donating 40 pairs of its 3D printed insoles to the hard-working volunteer members of the North Shore Rescue (NSR) team, a mountain search and rescue team based out of Vancouver.
The NSR team has over 40 skilled volunteers, who routinely brave the intense canyon and mountain conditions of the Pacific Northwest to help out police officers, the Royal Canadian Mountain Police, ambulance and fire services, the BC Provincial Emergency Program, and the State of Washington with over 130 search and rescue (SAR) operations a year, which includes civil emergencies; this equals about 200,000 hours of effort. NSR has been around for 50 years, which makes it one of the oldest SAR teams in all of Canada.
In 2015 and 2016, the NSR responded to about 130 calls per year, which means that on average, the tough volunteer team members helped with 3 rescues per week.
Wiivv Custom Fit 3D Printed Insoles were designed to support the biomechanics of a person’s body all the way from the foot to the lower back, and can relieve joint discomfort, foot fatigue and pain, and plantar fasciitis. The company’s foot capture app for Android and iOS uses over 200 data points, captured through the use of a smartphone camera, and computer algorithms use the data to determine the exact width, length, and arch height of a customer’s feet. Then, custom 3D printed insoles with an accurate fit are created and shipped out.
“On an average call, we can spend anywhere from one hour to three days on our feet. We are constantly on the go in some of the toughest conditions, including ice-covered rocks, wet and muddy slopes, and hanging from helicopters on a longline,” said NSR Training Officer Scott Campbell. “We stay on the job until it’s done, which means we rely on our feet to keep us going the entire time. We don’t have time to feel pain. We are constantly looking for a solution, and Wiivv gives us that solution.”
I think most people like to have comfortable shoes, but especially in industries where employees are on their feet all day, the quality of insoles and footwear can potentially make or a break a person: people who don’t suffer from recurring foot pain will likely be more productive during their shift. In addition, employees who aren’t in pain are less likely to call off work, so absenteeism in the workplace goes down, with fewer increases in healthcare costs for going to the doctor.
The NSR team is an important part of Wiivv’s Employee Wellness Program launch in North America. The program centers on hospitality, healthcare, first responders, construction, and other industries that could see a lot of back, foot, and leg injuries and pain, either from single incidents or repetitive use. According to the 2013 Principal Financial Well-Being Index, 45% of people said that an employer-sponsored wellness program is a good incentive to stay on at their job.
Campbell said, “We wear the best quality boots while we’re on a call, however, since we are working in such extreme conditions, it really takes a toll on our bodies. Wiivv Insoles really help cushion our feet from the constant pounding they take. Personally, I’ve noticed that my knees don’t hurt as much and my lower back pain from a reoccurring injury is starting to subside.”
The program has three goals:
“We’re committed to supporting first responders and other workers — from baristas and construction workers to doctors and nurses — who have to perform in environments where the they’re on their feet all day and the demands on their bodies and health are high,” said Wiivv CEO and Co-Founder Shamil Hargovan. “We’re thrilled with the positive feedback we receive from employers and workers about how Wivvs help improve their day-to-day performance while reducing injuries and time off due to pain.”
- Create a culture of wellness
- Reduce costs
- Increase employee retention
As part of the corporate wellness offering, organizations and companies who join Wiivv’s Employee Wellness Program, like Starbucks and the University of Washington, can offer their employees special corporate discounts on Custom Fit 3D Printed Insoles. Discuss in the Wiivv forum at 3DPB.com.