Promoting Wellness in the Workplace
Buy-in from throughout the organization helps create a culture that values, nurtures and produces healthy employees. And a healthy workplace is a productive and thriving workplace.
Most organizations understand the link between high-performing employees and strong mental and physical health of their workforce. For example, attrition rates, productivity and output can be positively and negatively influenced by elements of the corporate culture.
But taking steps to promote and improve a culture of workplace is another matter. It takes deliberate work on the part of leaders and human resources to promote wellness throughout an organization.
It may be time to re-evaluate if the ways we work produce the best possible results, both mentally and physically. Here are ways that an organization can genuinely embrace wellness as an essential element of the workplace that fosters an employee-centric work environment.
Wellness means different things to different people, particularly from one generation to the next. One segment of employees may benefit from a yoga program before the work day, while others prefer to track their steps privately. That’s why it’s vital to open a dialogue with employees to find out what their perceived needs are, so initiatives can be tailored correctly.
Recognizing sources of stress
Stress, by itself, isn’t a bad thing. Putting pressure on ourselves and those around us can be motivating. The problem comes in when there are high levels of chronic stress, which are demotivating, harmful to health and can lead to burn out. Recognizing sources of overloading stress and working to minimize them before they become harmful is beneficial to both employees and the organization. For example, the increasing blurring of private life and work life is making it harder for people to separate the two. Boundaries are often crossed and there is an increasing inability to switch off. While the culture adds to this challenge, in some cases, individuals may need to consciously opt out of always being on.
Both individuals and their employers are responsible for changing current ways of working and the resulting impact this is having on our health. Individuals must understand how they work best and try to communicate this to their employees. Organizations, in turn, need to work hard to create open, honest and authentic environments to energize their employees, rather than take energy from them.
Finally, an organization needs to move from awareness and understanding of wellness, to active participation and promotion. To promote and embrace wellness, shared responsibility from both employers and employees is vital. In addition to individuals taking responsibility for their mental wellbeing, employers have an important responsibility to create an environment where people can truly thrive.