Changing the Workplace Wellness Conversation
It’s time to change the workplace wellness conversation
Olivia Curtis, G&A Partners’ wellness specialist, and the manager of its Evolve Wellness Program, recently shared her thoughts on why the way we talk and think about wellness in the workplace should change in an article for the Houston Business Journal.
Here are some of the key takeaways from her article:
Vocabulary changes are good but aren’t enough.
The language we use to talk about wellness has changed a lot over the years. One of the most obvious examples of this is how we once would have spoken in terms of “mental illness,” we are now using terms such as mental health or mental wellness. However, there’s more to making a difference in workplace wellness than simple vocabulary changes. Making conversations about employee health truly productive requires a shift to a more inclusive definition of wellness.
Wellness is multidimensional, which means wellness programs should be, too.
Wellness is not about just mental or physical well-being, but how each is both dependent on and influences the other. Over the years, workplace wellness programs have had to adjust from focusing on just the physical health of the employee to taking in the person as a whole. The modern wellness program now needs to incorporate not just the physical, but the mental, emotional, social, financial, and other health needs of their participants.
Failing to address all the dimensions of wellness can increase the risk of burnout.
Burnout (a state of emotional and physical exhaustion as a result of prolonged stress) and presenteeism (when an employee is physically present but not mentally at work) are performance and productivity killers. Comprehensive wellness programs that touch on multiple health factors are among an employer’s best tools to avoid having burned out employees or experiencing presenteeism.
To find out more about changing how we speak about workplace wellness, check out the article published in the May 10, 2019 edition of the Houston Business Journal.