Why 'Wellness' Is Redefining Work

Updated: May 27, 2019

"If people feel appreciated, respected and understood, I bet their productivity would go up, and not down" - Jane Caro, 'Leadership Matters' Magazine

New Zealand's PM, Jacinda Ardern, has become internationally noteworthy of late, with her fast response in crisis, and ongoing ability to listen to and please the nations people. Most recently however, she has introduced a 'wellbeing agenda', recognising that economic wealth is simply not enough for a nation to flourish.

"To live a satisfying life, humans need emotional, psychological and intellectual wealth as well." - Jane Caro

Global politics aside, there is a key lesson that can be learned for any leader in business; health and wellbeing is outgrowing financial wealth.

Reflected in various statistics, employees the world over have reported factors that entice new employees or retain current ones, and a lot of them may come as a surprise.

Some of the more popular ideas:

  • Feature residential style offices that make them feel more at home

  • Shorter commutes

  • Co-working spaces

  • Pedometer step challenges

  • Colourful break-out spaces and in-house cafes

  • Privacy booths to get work done in a quiet, focused area

  • Hot-desking

  • Biophilic elements to bring back harmony and balance

  • Ergonomic furniture with an emphasis on correct posture and movement

  • Wellness incentives such as in-house gyms, massages, meditation or yoga

  • Nine-day-fortnights

  • Remote working conditions

  • Group social activities in and outside of working hours

  • Nutrition plans or health focused catering opportunities and snack boxes

  • Wellbeing seminars and education sessions

  • Team health challenges

At minimum, employees are now likely to expect filtered water coolers, good lighting, healthy air-flow and breaks away from their screens as technology overtakes human social connectedness. On that note, it's also been proven that those that have a good friend at work will not only be happier, but they will work harder for the company as their loyalties lie with the groups accomplishments.

Those who are not so concerned about their health and wellbeing right now, have one thing on their minds. Professional achievement.

In Australia, work and its related success has brought about a new wave of social anxiety to compete against peers, and with this, has come the need to work longer, harder and with more skill. Employees are becoming scared to take time off for holidays or illness, with constant fear of being replaced by someone younger, more driven, more capable or perhaps even a computer. As a result, our wellbeing collectively suffers.

This 'pack-mentality' amongst peers can create fear within a team, with each employee wanting to prove their worth by answering emails at all hours, taking work home to meet deadlines and ensuring mistakes are few and far between. Subsequently, we are breeding a society of obese, angry and sleep-deprived employees that are becoming counter productive due to lack of mental and emotional support required to do their job.

In other words, our need for success is driving us to become an unhealthy society that relies on quick-fixes for the one thing we should be focused on most: our health.

While it might not be something you gauge as a priority for employees, the stats below may change your perception:

While New Zealand's leader might have a HUGE task ahead convincing 4,787, 234 people that wellness needs to become a priority; comparatively, your task as a business leader, will be a walk in the park.

Food for thought?

Wishes in wellness and have a GREAT week,

The Balance Team

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