Wellness can mean many things to different people—employers included. Many employers offer wellness programs and incentives through their company benefits, but these often mainly focus on physical heath and proper nutrition. While these are phenomenal programs to offer to employees to encourage healthy living and reduce the risk of workplace absenteeism caused by illness, there are additional health aspects that should be considered to provide your hard-working employees with wholelistic health.
Wholelistic (holistic) health is a lifestyle; how a person interacts with their environment and how they react mentally, physically, socially, and even spiritually to that environment—essentially emphasizing the connection between the mind, the body, and the spirt.
A third of a person’s life is spent at work and the workplace is where most people experience stress—83% of U.S. workers suffer from work-related stress and stress causes nearly one million people to miss work every day. For decades, workplace stress in America has cost over $300 billion. Its unwelcome impact has created a downward spiral in areas such as job and employee turnover, absenteeism, and high medical, legal, and insurance cost.
The importance of considering and implementing a wellness program inclusive of wholelistic health attributes can help a corporate environment be more inclusive to all backgrounds of employees while encouraging optimal health and wellness in the workplace while addressing issues other health programs may miss: stress.
In addition of providing a more holistic-based wellness program, there are other measures an employer can take to promote ongoing and continuous whole-body health.
Work environment and culture is a vital aspect of stress management in the workplace. A welcoming and friendly environment can promote a sense of belonging. People are social creatures by nature and satisfying these need helps reduce stress, minimize conflict, encourage productivity, and can result in better collaboration among coworkers, teams, and departments.
If the COVID-19 pandemic taught us anything is that work isn’t more important than our wellbeing—and people will take a leave of absence to address it—and there are ways to work more creatively while still being highly productive.
To ensure you are managing a desirable work environment to retain and attract employees, be sure the workplace is designed around welcomeness and social interaction—bonds established between coworkers can aid in stress management. This should also include enhanced interaction between supervisors or higher-level employees with those they may manage. Approachability is important when there is an issue an employee may be facing so that it can be best addressed before it escalates.
Since employees spend the bulk of their day at work, employers can assume the bulk of the responsibility of supporting a healthy lifestyle. How? Provide your employees with the resources to access health and wellness information and achieve an overall healthier lifestyle.
A wholelistic health approach can ensure your employees are provided with a well-round resource base for all types of health management. Ideas for optimal wholelistic approach include stress management, weight loss support, diet and nutrition guidance, smoking cessation, spiritual (religious and non-religious) health, financial wellness, and social wellbeing. Employers can satisfy each of these aspects of wholelistic health by offering classes or printed/online material that discuss financial tips, implementing programs for weight control and nutrition, encouraging team-building activities, or providing a quiet room for meditation or prayer.
Another important resource is providing coverage for therapeutic services such as counseling for themselves or family members. When resources are available, employees are more likely to take advantage of them and resolve or at least start to address issues of concern that are weighing on them—things that could affect their performance at work and beyond. By extending the resource to family, this can also help reduce stress (mental and financial) that an employee may be experiencing.
Workplace resources—whether informational, programs, or classes—can help encourage and reinforce a healthy and positive work culture and lifestyle for your employees.
As previously mentioned, people are social creatures, and a workplace environment should help to cater to this need to provide a more positive workplace. Going beyond open workspaces and open-door policies, social engagement should also include more employer sponsored socialization. Socializing with coworkers, and in general, can help to promote mental and emotional wellbeing. By providing your employees with the opportunity to socialize and build (or strengthen) bonds with those they work around, within their department, or with other employees they might not encounter on a regular basis can help improve working relationships throughout the business while being a positive impact in your employee’s wellbeing.
Hosted breakfast or lunch gatherings can bring employees together while minimizing disruption to the normal breaks. After hours are also ideal times to host events—dinners, weekend brunches or picnics, holiday parties, and happy hours are also great ways to bring your employees together for a social event that doesn’t place any pressure of work on them.
Team-building activities or other outings like an extended paid lunch can also be great ways to improve upon employee wellbeing while enhancing work bonds and productivity.
As an employer, your main focus is ensuring employee productivity—but you can better achieve this by addressing the emotional, mental, and social wellness of your employees. When an employee is feeling stressed or their other wellness needs are not being met, they focus more on the end of their day (or other potential employers) than the work they are tasked with.
Today’s business climate is calling leaders to initiate changes. Experiment with ideas that will not only build a stronger workplace culture but improve the overall competitive advantage of the organization.