by Anna Dueck
by Anna Dueck
Written by Tammie Wessels
Senior HR Consultant and Workshop Facilitator
Vertical Bridge HR (Health Bridge HR’s Sister Company)
Workplace wellness is about organizations taking a proactive approach to ensuring the health and wellbeing of their workforce. By focusing on the wellness of employees, organizations can help prevent issues with mental and physical health, reducing stress levels and absenteeism and ultimately improving performance. When the organization leads the way by promoting knowledge and awareness around the importance of workplace wellness, it encourages their workforce to take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing.
1. Define and Support Wellness
How does your organization define and support wellness for its people? During the hiring process, sharing your organization’s commitment to the well-being of its workforce may be a deciding factor when the candidate is deciding on a job offer with your organization.
“When organizations understand and support workplace wellness, employees will feel encouraged to consistently bring their best selves to work every day and, when that happens, everybody wins!”
2. Encourage Rational and Positive Thinking
A central foundation of wellness is to encourage and practice rational and positive thinking. The key to mastering rational and positive thinking is developing self-awareness of your thought process. When people are more aware of the way they think, they can take action to use positive situations to their advantage, and to re-shape the negative ones. The goal is to think positively, regardless of the situation, and make a conscious effort to see opportunities instead of obstacles; this helps to enhance the feeling of wellness.
3. Understand the Six Dimensions of Wellness
The Six Dimensions of Wellness, as developed by Dr. Bill Hettler, co-Founder of the National Wellness Institute, can provide an effective framework for developing a workplace wellness program.
- Occupational – encourages and recognizes the need for personal satisfaction and enrichment in one’s life through work
- Physical – encourages and recognizes one’s need for regular physical activity and promotes learning about diet and nutrition
- Social – encourages and recognizes the positive impact of contributing to one’s environment and community
- Intellectual – encourages and recognizes one’s need for stimulating mental activities and for sharing their knowledge and skills with others
- Spiritual – encourages and recognizes one’s desire to search for meaning and purpose and to act consistently with their beliefs and values
- Emotional – encourages and recognizes awareness and acceptance of one’s feelings, which includes the capacity to manage one’s own feelings and related behaviours and the ability to cope effectively with stress
4. Support and Encourage Work-Life Balance
These days, work-life balance can seem like an impossible feat. Technology makes employees accessible around the clock. Fears of job losses mean people feel the need to work longer hours. This can damage work and social relationships, and impact on health and overall wellness.
Here are some things to consider when looking to support improvement of work-life balance and wellness for both you and your team:
- Unplug – technology has helped our lives in many ways, but it has also set expectations of being constantly available to work. Phone notifications interrupt your time away from work and create stress. Make quality time true quality time
- Exercise – for many people, one of the most crucial needs – exercise – is often the first thing to go when their calendars fill up. Exercise is an effective stress reducer. It pumps feel-good endorphins through your body which helps lift your mood
- Limit time-wasting activities and people – first, identify what’s most important in your life. Next, set boundaries so you can devote quality time to your priorities
- Change the structure of your life – instead of trying to do everything, focus on activities you specialize in and value most. When possible, delegate or outsource
- Develop a Wellness Action Plan – by developing a plan, individuals must actively support their own wellness by taking ownership of practical steps to address personal triggers. This process can also help managers to create an open dialogue with their employees, to better understand their needs and experiences and ultimately better support them
- Start small – always keep in mind that when we try to make drastic changes too quickly, the change tends to be very short-lived. It is better to start with small, incremental changes that are much more likely to hold in the long-term
5. Monitor Workplace Dynamics
In a world that is (still) recovering from a global pandemic, your work environment is most likely continuing to change. Some employees may still be working from home, appreciating the benefits of remote work, while others prefer some socialization with a hybrid work model. For many, there’s also been the return to full time hours in the work environment. Regularly monitoring the effectiveness of your workplace dynamics and ensuring that every employee has the right workspace, tools and level of human interaction to do their job to the best of their ability, regardless of where they are located, can only contribute to employee satisfaction and productivity, and ultimately to the long-term success of your organization.
In these continued uncertain times, the importance of workplace wellness and its benefits has become an area of focus for forward thinking organizations around the world. Wellness is the sum of all of the positive steps one can take in order to lead a healthier life. When organizations understand and support workplace wellness, employees will feel encouraged to consistently bring their best selves to work every day and, when that happens, everybody wins!
About the Author
Tammie is a strategically minded people, culture and business executive with over 20 years of experience. She brings a demonstrated ability to lead, train, coach and support clients with organizational, team and individual growth and change through a hands-on, full service and best practices approach. Tammie offers a broad scope of knowledge gained through working with organizations of various sizes and stages, across multiple industries, and with operations in Canada, the US, and the UK.
As a Senior HR Consultant, Tammie works with unionized and non-unionized clients in both the private and public sector who are in need of developing, managing, streamlining or expanding their HR programs and processes. Her style focusses on building trust and strong relationships, collaborative teamwork, open communication and adapting to the specific needs of her clients.
Clients range from a variety of industries including: biopharmaceutical, retail, manufacturing, education, construction, real estate development, logistics, insurance, distribution, arts and travel.
Tammie holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of British Columbia, as well as a Business Administration Certificate in HR from Langara College. As an active member with the Richmond Chamber of Commerce for over five years, Tammie has been a Volunteer Ambassador, Business Mentor, Lunch and Learn Facilitator and Task Force Member and Judge for the Annual Business Excellence Awards.
When not pursuing her passion for working with businesses and their people, Tammie enjoys life with her family in Steveston, BC.
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