National Wellness Month: Taking a Holistic Approach to Wellbeing
August 18, 2020 / Corporate Wellness
Being well is more than just getting regular exercise or eating healthy foods. Holistic wellbeing means taking care of the whole self by focusing on self-care, creating healthy routines and stress management. August is National Wellness Month, and this is exactly the reminder we need to help us prioritize our health as we continue to navigate rapidly changing challenges through this year. Your employees are looking for support and guidance and there’s no more important time than during the COVID-19 pandemic to drive health literacy, elevate wellbeing within your organizational culture and help your business leaders understand the positive business impacts of taking care of your workforce.
The key to engaging employees in daily healthy behaviors that will prevent costly chronic conditions and help them feel and perform their best, is to make it easy. Everyone across your workforce – no matter their title, location, race, gender, ability or otherwise – should be empowered with the information and the tools to make wellbeing a part of their everyday lives.
Helping Employees Stay Active and Sleep Well
We often think of health as it relates to physical wellness, which is the absence of disease or illness. Physical health often also involves choosing a lifestyle that supports the optimal functioning of the body and mind. Adopting positive behaviors such as regular exercise and good sleeping habits can bolster physical wellbeing.
On-demand wellness and fitness classes are a great way to help your workforce become happier and healthier—they can choose from a variety of fitness programs and receive proper instruction on how to execute the exercises, along with the motivation of a virtual “coach.” Of course, we can’t talk about wellbeing without addressing the importance of sleep, which impacts our immunity, mental wellbeing, physical health, ability to focus and more. As a result, employee engagement and productivity in your organization will soar.
Reducing Employee Stress
Many employees around the country have reported that they feel moderate to high levels of stress at work. Oftentimes, untreated stress may lead to mental health issues or diseases. Serious mental illnesses have resulted in lost earnings that have accumulated to $139 billion per year.
The goal of mindfulness is to curtail stress and promote relaxation by leading the mind into an alert state, which means increasing awareness of one’s physical and mental state, allowing you to fully concentrate on the present moment. By embedding mindfulness tools within your digital wellbeing program, you can allow employees to easily access resources that will help them to meditate, reduce stress and increase happiness, whenever they need it and wherever they are.
Encouraging Employees to Eat Well
Food has a powerful presence in everyone’s lives. It’s easy to become influenced by the latest diet crazes or food trends, many of which are actually an abundance of myths. As your employees are spending more time at home, it becomes harder to maintain healthy eating habits. Your employees may still be struggling with setting up their home environments for healthy eating or don’t know how to prepare well-balanced meals. Nutrition isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach because we all have different tastes, food preferences and dietary needs so providing a personalized and sustainable approach to healthy eating is key to helping your employees make this lifestyle change.
Supporting Employee Financial Wellbeing and Literacy
With the unexpected events of COVID-19, financial stress is more prominent than ever. Even before the pandemic, 82% of employees were seeking some form of financial guidance. You can and should help your workforce prepare for the potential short- and long-term impacts of COVID-19 on the economy. Money management techniques, such as the importance of spending and budgeting and how to tackle debt, will prove invaluable for your employees. A holistic financial wellbeing program takes an in-depth, personal approach to how these strategies, along with others, will boost employee productivity and reduce financial stress.
Condition Management and Health Situations
COVID-19 has drawn much-needed attention to our healthcare system and has shown us the significance of maintaining a healthy and safe workforce. Your efforts to protect your employees should begin by concentrating on basic chronic disease prevention through healthy lifestyle habits. The best way to engage and support your employees is to offer a multidimensional, tailored program that leads to positive results in health indicators. At the same time, you’ll be driving down healthcare costs and closing gaps in your employees’ care plans.
Reducing Employees’ Chronic Pain
Globally, musculoskeletal (MSK) lower back pain is the leading cause of disability. It results in countless lost workdays as well as higher costs for both healthcare and disability insurance, and with more employees working from home in less ergonomically workspaces, MSK health shouldn’t be overlooked.
The best way to elevate MSK health is to educate employees about their back pain and provide wellness exercises that target physical and psychological causes of pain. On average, MSK disorders cost employers $13.4 billion every year, so your efforts to prevent and treat chronic care issues will curb healthcare spending and productivity loss.
Enabling Employees to Quit Smoking
In the United States, 1 in 5 deaths can be attributed to smoking. Only about 4-7% of people who want to quit smoking can do so without assistance. Empowering your employees to successfully quit tobacco involves a multipronged approach, including education, behavior change and ongoing social and emotional support. By offering a workplace program for tobacco cessation, you’ll not only improve the health of your workforce, but you’ll also be saving money due to a substantial decrease in medical bills while lessening the number of lost workdays for smoking-related issues.
Taking Care of Employees’ Families
The health and wellbeing of the families of your employees will undoubtedly impact their work performance. As their employer, it’s important to not only be understanding of these stressors that exist outside of the workforce but also to provide support through family care tools and employee benefits. By offering personalized and comprehensive programming that spans fertility, pregnancy, parenting, dependent care and returning to the workplace, you can help your employees grow their families and careers while lowering healthcare costs.
By creating a culture centered around holistic wellbeing, your organization can help improve the overall health of your employees while also maintaining a productive and highly engaged workforce.