Wellness and Emotional Health
This is the first of a series of blogs on wellness. According to John Valenty, CEO Wellness.com, "Wellness is the result of personal initiative, seeking a more optimal, holistic and balanced state of health and well-being across multiple dimensions. In this guest blog, Karolyn Gore explores why wellness in the workplace is so important to support employees' well-being.
According to ethicist Steven Mintz, aka the Ethics Sage, if you want to foster a wellness culture in your business, it must begin at the top. In recent years, employee and workplace wellness has captured the limelight with more companies shifting to focus heavily on promoting corporate wellness programs and mechanisms to support their employees. In fact, the corporate wellness market will hit $97.4 billion by 2027, by 2027, a 6.8 percent annual growth rate. The increased scrutiny and interest in creating a healthy and good work environment is not without merit either. Employees that are properly supported in the workplace go on to be more productive, increase employee satisfaction, and boost an employer’s brand image. When done right, a good work environment can prove itself to be a foundational block of an organization’s (and its employees’) success.
Focus on Creating a Safe and Conducive Workspace
A healthy physical environment reduces employee discomfort and aids better employee focus, happiness, physical health, and of course, productivity. While most businesses focus on protecting themselves and employees from workplace injuries, small adjustments like ensuring adequate ventilation of the office or discouraging sedentary working habits can also create a large impact on employee health.
For instance, sick building syndrome and poor indoor air quality are cited in up to 30 percent of new or remodeled buildings, says a World Health Organization Committee report. The result of poor indoor air quality and ventilation can result in difficulty concentrating, shortness of breath, and allergic reactions. In addition to ensuring adequate ventilation and design of the work environment, scheduling regular inspections for the growth of Stachybotrys and other toxic fungi that will affect employee health is recommended.
Create Support for Financial and Mental Wellness
Multiple studies have shown that financial stress can affect employee wellbeing and performance at work. Other research has also gone on to show that 70 percent of employees are financially stressed. It is now the leading reason behind soaring stress levels for Americans and the catalyst behind rising claims of employee burnout and mental unwellness. While the traditional view was to separate issues like finances and mental wellbeing from an employee’s work life, the overwhelming evidence on just how closely they are linked is showing just why employers need to include financial wellness in their corporate wellness program.
As an employer, you can do so by building a diverse, accessible, and wide-ranging financial support system for all employees. This can begin with providing a comprehensive employee benefits package including access to financial services like pension and retirement planning or sessions with a financial planner. In addition to money management guidance, employers can support their employee’s mental wellbeing by offering mental health coverage in employee insurance schemes and access to confidential mental health resources like an onsite therapist, and promoting a better work-life balance. According to a study by Culture Amp, 48 percent say they cannot accomplish what they need to in their normal day while 48 percent feel rested for work daily, a common combination for employee burnout. Mental wellness support promotes better workplace experiences, productivity, and employee happiness.
Establish Regular Check-In Points for Reassessment of Your Wellness Programs
Your workforce dynamics and wellbeing needs will change over time. With this change, employers must recognize the need to adapt to the changing definitions of what they term a ‘well work environment’. Therefore, it is wise to create checkpoints for reassessment and consultation with employees on how well the current wellness program is working for their needs- and the needs of your business. Business decisions like restructuring, expansion, and industry changes are all good examples of situations that can impact employee wellbeing and give rise to additional support.
Creating a good corporate wellness program and working environment does not have to include a monumental overhaul either. Committing to small, continuous steps towards a better work environment is more likely to make a difference in your workforce health than a one-time effort.
You can contact Karolyn at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the spirit of the holiday season, I am giving away signed copies of my book to the first ten people who contact me at: email@example.com and provide a mailing address. May your 2021 be better than 2020. Let's face it, it can't be any worse.
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