The concept of “wellness” is quickly becoming a buzzword in the workplace.
While many employers initially adopted wellness initiatives to reduce health care costs, there is now evidence that these programs can also lead to increased productivity and improved employee morale.
When it comes to productivity, we often focus on efficiency and output. But many don’t realize that wellness is essential in creating healthy, productive teams.
Wellness encompasses physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of life. When these are taken care of, employees are better equipped to perform their best.
This can be achieved through various initiatives, such as providing flexible working hours, offering fitness classes, nutrition education and stress-management programs, and creating a supportive work culture. These activities can help employees take better care of their physical health, develop healthier lifestyle habits and learn to cope with stress more effectively.
Encouraging employees to prioritize their wellness can benefit teams in numerous ways. When they are feeling their best, they are more likely to be productive and engaged in their work. This can lead to increased collaboration, creativity, and problem-solving skills.
Burnout results from chronic, unmanaged stress. This stress accumulates through increased stressors (i.e. increased demands, limited resources) and a reduced capacity to relieve that stress (i.e. down-regulate the nervous system’s stress response). We cannot function at our highest potential when we are overwhelmed, exhausted and stressed.
While it’s important to reduce stressors, it’s also vital to learn and practice healthy stress relievers and helpful coping strategies.
Improved stress management increases productivity in the long run. When employees have access to resources to manage stress and practice self-care, they experience lower levels of stress, improved mental health and are more likely to be motivated and creative in the workplace.
Wellness initiatives that promote healthy habits such as practicing true rest, getting high quality sleep, and proper diet and exercise, create a culture in which employees are less likely to become sick or need to take extended time off from work. When employees feel rested, nourished and energized, there is less absenteeism and improved morale.
Wellness initiatives can also serve as team-building activities, fostering deeper connections, trust and respect. Healthy and happy employees are more likely to be productive, engaged, motivated to achieve their goals and satisfied with their jobs.
Incorporating wellness strategies into the workplace makes employees feel more valued and appreciated, leading to improved work performance, higher morale and reduced turnover. All roads lead to increased productivity.
Wellness initiatives can vary depending on the size and needs of an organization. Some examples of wellness initiatives include:
- Provide stress management resources (such as bringing in a stress management specialist to speak to your team)
- Provide access to counseling, therapy or coaching, either in-person or virtual
- Schedule monthly or quarterly wellness events, such as yoga classes, health screenings or team sports.
- Encourage flexible work schedules, regular breaks, and vacations.
- Offer wellness incentives (such as discounted gym memberships), nutritious snacks and access to physical activity (such as morning huddle stretches).
The modern workplace is changing rapidly and, with it, the expectations of employees.
As the demands of work continue to increase, it’s essential to prioritize the wellness of employees to boost their mental and physical health, increase productivity, increase morale, reduce absenteeism and turnover and improve overall job satisfaction.
For employers, investing in workplace wellness is an investment in the future of their mployees and their business.
Shivani Kamodia Barto, D.D.S., is a general dentist, yoga teacher and wellness coach. She has over 10 years and 600 hours of experience in teaching yoga asana, facilitating personal-development workshops, hosting wellness retreats, and lecturing on the science of well-being. She completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training in 2012 and graduated from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry in 2018. For more information, visit drshivasana.com.
This blog post originated from her website and is published with her permission.