When you think about employee wellness, you probably think about staying fit and eating right, but physical wellness is only 1/8 of the pie. Wellness has branched out, and so should you. By offering more corporate wellness opportunities for your employees to embrace, you can help them achieve a work-life balance that will benefit your company, too. Focus on the eight essentials of wellness below, gleaned from a Policy Research Associates article as well as a number of other corresponding studies.
Physical wellness – comparable to the first stage of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – is usually the first dimension of wellness we all think about. It involves eating healthy, exercising the proper amount, and getting enough sleep.
You can encourage physical wellness in employees by offering access to a free or discounted gym membership. If you don’t have the means to offer a gym on-site, consider teaming up with a local wellness center to get your employees a discounted rate. On the nutrition side, encourage healthy eating by offering affordable, healthy foods at work.
Financial wellness is about feeling comfortable and secure with your financial situation. According to the American Psychological Association, 72% of Americans are stressed over money. The problem is that research shows that most people aren’t knowledgeable enough about money management.
Financially stressed employees tend to be more distracted and less motivated at work. This loss in productivity can cost employers about $7,000 per year per stressed employee. Thankfully, financial education programs have come a long way. Programs like ours are scalable, easy to implement, and affordable. Enroll your employees in financial education programs to help them learn how to find stability in the financial dimension of wellness.
Social wellness is about developing a support network and a sense of belonging. Help by creating a social environment within your company. Encourage employees to attend social events outside of your company, as well. For example, teaming up with community-wide events to score discounted tickets for your employees can encourage them to get out into the community and build connections with those around them.
Environmental wellness involves connecting with the world environment as well as your immediate environment. As an employer, you have significant control over your employees’ environment where they spend many hours of their day.
Create a stimulating environment that supports employee well-being. Big windows to let in natural lighting, live plants around the office, and even pleasant smells and noises in the building can help employees feel comfortable and happy in their immediate environment. Using eco-friendly products and allowing access to recycling bins can also help employees feel connected to the world environment.
Occupational, or career, wellness is about feeling a sense of achievement and stimulation in a job. Focus on creating an environment that challenges your employees, stimulates them, and makes them feel accomplished. Talk with them about what they’d like to get from their job and how you can improve their personal satisfaction from it – then work on implementing those ideas.
Intellectual wellness is about expanding knowledge and skills and indulging in creativity. Encourage employees to participate in intellectual activities. A simple way to do this is by offering creative and stimulating activities in the break room, which can be as simple as leaving Sudoku and crossword puzzles nearby that they can futz with while on break. Otherwise, provide or encourage out-of-work classes, workshops, or groups for cooking, art, music, sports, and other stimulating activities.
Emotional wellness deals with coping with your internal emotions as well as building satisfying relationships. One way to help employees cope is by providing a therapist they can talk to if needed. Another idea is to offer yoga classes since yoga has been shown to help people cope with emotions and personal struggles like depression and bipolar disorder.
Spiritual wellness is about finding a sense of purpose in life and defining and living by personal values. People often find spiritual wellness through religion but you don’t have to be religious to be spiritual. One way to practice spiritual wellness is through mindfulness, and you can help this along by enrolling employees in mindfulness training sessions. Otherwise, yoga and other mind-exercising wellness programs can help, too.
With these eight dimensions of employee wellness in mind, you can help create a healthy work-life balance for your employees – while also supporting happier moods at work which boost productivity and reduce business costs.