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The term “wellness” gets thrown around a lot, but do you know the actual definition? The Global Wellness Institute defines it as “the active pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health.” Active pursuit is the key concept there -- wellness is not a state of being. It’s something that you do.

For decades, companies have had employee wellness programs. Lots of companies offer things like gym memberships, quit-smoking programs, and free Fitbits to encourage healthy habits. Employee wellness is not new...but our collective understanding -- and need for -- wellness has changed. The combination of a pandemic, permanent shifts to remote work, and a rising interest in all-things-wellness means that it’s time for you to reevaluate your wellness program.  

The need for broader wellness benefits, especially ones that address mental health, became strikingly apparent during the pandemic. When surveyed by SHRM, 2 in 5 employees reported feeling severe burnout; 35% reported feeling depressed at some point in the last year. Only 7% sought help from a professional, many citing difficulty in accessing mental health benefits. According to another survey, 30% of those who changed jobs during the pandemic did so for better benefits.

Yoga Fusion with Alicia, and Customized Group Fitness Classes with Jessica.

Clearly, a great wellness program will be a draw for top talent going forward. Here are three tips to help you take yours to the next level:

1. Think big picture. Start by evaluating these 6 pillars of wellness, according to The Global Wellness Institute:

· Physical: A healthy body through exercise, nutrition, and sleep.
· Mental: Engagement with the world through learning, problem-solving, and creativity.
· Emotional: Being in touch with, aware of, accepting of, and able to express one’s feelings (and those of others).
· Spiritual: Our search for meaning and purpose in human existence.
· Social: Connecting with, interacting with, and contributing to other people and our communities.
· Environmental: A healthy physical environment free of hazards; awareness of the role we play in bettering rather than denigrating the natural environment.

As you can see, wellness is more than a free Fitbit. It has the potential to positively influence every part of your company’s culture.

Do people have clear career paths? Is there a culture of healthy and open communication? Do they feel supported by their team? Starting here will help you uncover the most important objectives for your wellness program.

Marc Weinstein will teach you all about meditation and yoga.

2. Be remote-friendly: If you have remote or hybrid employees, make it easy for them to access the same perks. Do you have a quiet room or mediation room at the office? Offer virtual guided meditation sessions to all employees. Upgrading to standing desks? Give remote employees a stipend to create the workspace of their dreams. Expanding mental health benefits? Make sure the benefits are usable where your remote workers live. Making remote employees feel seen and supported will help you build a strong culture that retains a diverse and talented workforce.

3. Get creative: Competition for top talent is fierce. Your wellness program should stand out in a crowd! Yes -- make sure you ace the fundamentals with holistic health benefits, generous paid leave, and flexible work policies. Then...have some fun! How can you express your company’s mission and values through delightful wellness perks? Offer a weekly class where your people can unwind and flex different mental muscles, like a virtual art class or cookie-decorating class. In addition to paid vacation days, do what Centro does and offer Ferris Bueller Days, hooky days with no explanation necessary. Keep home pantries stocked with healthy snacks from a service like Snack Nation. Every month, donate to and host an event to support a cause that a teammate really cares about. These fun details are what people tell their friends about and remember from the interview process.

Wellness is one of those buzzwords that actually deserves the buzz. We hope this inspires you to take a look at your wellness program with fresh eyes. Strong, happy teams are what we’re all about. We’re here to help you put together memorable experiences for your people that support their well-being. Reach out to us anytime at info@boombox.events

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