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.
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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.
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