Shifting our Thinking: Part 2 – The difference between “wellness” and “well-being”
Worksite wellness programs have notoriously just focused on the physical health of employees: nutrition programs, walking challenges and weight loss competitions. However, in order to truly improve the health of our employees, we need to shift our thinking to incorporate initiatives and policies that will encompass some additional aspects of well-being:
- Purpose – Employees need to feel that have a purpose or calling. Why do they work at your company? How does their role impact the bigger picture of what your company is trying to work towards or accomplish?
- Social – Do your employees experience a connection or have relationships with their co-workers? Incorporate team building exercises or group outings to begin to foster these relationships. If your company is already doing these types of initiatives, are they healthy activities? Taking a group to a healthy cooking class, participating in corporate sports leagues or having a family field day can build the bonds between co-workers while improving their physical and emotional well-being.
- Financial – Currently 70% of Americans say that they are stressed about finances and many of those individuals report that this negatively impacts their physical health. Consider incorporating financial wellness initiatives to encourage stability and resource management. Many times, your 401(k) provider or corporate banking partners will provide lunch and learns or one-on-one financial counseling for your employees for little to no cost.
- Physical – Physical well-being has always been and will continue to be important. This contributes to your employees’ source of energy, which will also allow them to be more productive while at work.
- Community – Where you live and where you give! Studies show that people who volunteer report a higher perception of health than those who do not. Consider sponsoring a community volunteer event, like Habitat for Humanity or Walk for a Cure. This type of event will touch on social, physical and community well-being.
- Emotional – Hard times are going to happen…what matters is how we respond. How resilient are your employees? Are they aware of programs that are available to support them through difficult phases in life? Do you offer employees an EAP (Employee Assistance Program)? These programs are valuable resources that can be very beneficial to your employees and their families.
For more information, strategy and planning for your wellness program, please contact your Wellness Team at Northwestern Benefit. We look forward to continuing to support you in your initiatives.