Leave your troubles at home—this is the adage by which many people navigate their professional lives, but what happens when troubles make their way into the workplace regardless of the best intentions to keep the personal and professional parts of our lives separate?
What kinds of troubles specifically are we talking about? When it comes to corporate wellness what we’re talking about is focusing on the ongoing care and maintenance of a corporation’s most precious asset: its employees.
Whether we’re talking about high stress, chronic pain and fatigue or just unhealthy lifestyle habits, the negative impact is the same and the results are often high absenteeism, poor work output, and a high cost for medical intervention, insurance coverage and on-going doctor visits.
Corporate wellness falls under the umbrella of preventative care, but it’s so much more than that. It impacts the way corporations build a work culture and how they establish and nurture the employer-employee relationship. It’s no secret that the happiest employees work in an environment where they feel valued and cared for. A comprehensive corporate wellness program is a great way to accomplish that.
Not all corporate wellness programs will be structured in exactly the same way. In fact, the first step in creating one should be to ask for employee feedback and suggestions. Yoga tends to be a popular request, but in some companies, team sports may gain more favor.
A company’s program may be influenced by several factors including, location, budget and employee interest. It can take time for communication and trust to be developed.
Aside from offering healthier snack options in the company kitchen, a corporation may facilitate regular seminars or presentations by wellness experts and encourage break times for physical activity. The message to take care of your mind and your body has to come through loud and clear.
When corporations benefit by seeing reduced employee turnover, reduced costs in insurance premiums and higher quality output in employee contributions, the cost and effort is well worth it. And the best part is that employees also benefit significantly. They are provided with constructive and effective ways to manage stress, build healthy employee peer relationships and feel physically and mentally up to the task of making valuable contributions both at work and at home.
No matter what a company chooses to include in its program, the effectiveness and employee acceptance will rely on how the program benefits are communicated to employees. Will there be a monthly newsletter? Monthly sporting events, wellness seminars, and/or prizes or rewards for wellness achievements? The possibilities are endless.
Without a doubt human capital is the driving force behind a company’s success. Implementing a corporate wellness program is a way to upgrade business operations, to nurture strong working relationships and to significantly improve the work environment and company culture. The fact is that in today’s fast paced world we need to figure out how to effectively blend our personal and professional lives, not keep them separate.
Dr. Reem Al Saud is a Women’s Development Specialist and UN Sustainable Development Expert.