The days when ‘employee wellness’ meant little more than a quick training about standing up every hour or so feels like the distant past. And for good reason. Employee wellness is quickly coming to mean wellness in multiple facets of a worker’s life that affect the body, the mind and more. Holistic wellness is the new norm, and it’s clear why as organizations see a host of benefits for both people and businesses. As your company enters the world of holistic wellness, you may wonder what your organization can do to set up a multifaceted wellness program for your employees. Well, look no further. This handy guide will help you learn everything you need to know to start your own holistic wellness program.
What is a Holistic Wellness Program?
A holistic wellness program is designed to help employees develop healthier lifestyles mentally and physically. Traditional wellness programs focus solely on the physical health of employees. However, we have learned there is so much more to employee health than physical fitness. Holistic wellness programs have evolved to reflect that. This change is most obvious in how we refer to the programs.
The word holistic means recognizing the intimate ways parts of a whole are connected to each other and can’t be ignored. In a medical sense, it means considering the social, mental, and emotional factors that may affect someone’s health. Today, holistic wellness programs offer ways to promote physical fitness, healthy nutrition, mental health, spiritual fulfillment, stress management, and financial health. The idea is to cover every aspect of our lives to offer help and the opportunity to build healthy habits.
What is Wellness?
Wellness is essentially the act of following specific daily habits to promote your physical and mental health. And work-life wellness is when businesses use a wellness solution to help their employees become the healthiest versions of themselves. In a lot of ways, it’s the process to go from simply living, to thriving. There are 8 key factors to consider in wellness programs. Each of the 8 pillars is interconnected and can’t be ignored. If equal time is not given to each, then your holistic strategy will remain unbalanced. Those 8 pillars are:
- Social: We are social creatures and our social wellbeing is key to overall health. This is focused on building and maintaining relationships as well as caring for others.
- Financial: Financial stability is often forgotten but is arguably one of the most important pillars. This is focused on making smart money choices and living within our means.
- Environmental: Our homes should be our sanctuary. This pillar is focused on ensuring our homes are safe to relax and work in.
- Intellectual: Collecting and learning new things often fall to the wayside after we leave school. However, this pillar focuses on allowing us to challenge ourselves mentally and continue to grow.
- Spiritual: Spiritual health is important for finding meaning in life. Organized religion can achieve this, however, you can also focus on specific activities that allow you to tap into your inner spirituality.
- Emotional: Regulating emotions helps us better react to stressful days and react to the challenges that come our way. However, it also helps us stay in touch with the things that bring us joy.
- Occupational: Work is work. However, through prioritizing wellness employees can find more meaning at work without feeling overwhelmed by the coming due dates.
- Physical: This is often the most focused pillar of wellness. This helps our body keep in tip-top shape to handle all the different challenges life may throw at us.
Benefits of a Holistic Wellness Program
Holistic wellness programs are fun ways to help both your organization and employees see a multitude of benefits.
First, the overall health of your employees will increase. This is great news for them and for the organization. On a personal level, committing to healthier habits can increase energy, help us sleep, and build our mental fortitude. All of these being prioritized by a company also shows how an organization cares about its employees outside of the work they do. For an organization, healthier employees often mean they are spending less money on sick employees. When wellness is prioritized employees use fewer sick days, they’re more engaged at work, and they require less use of any health plans.
One benefit of a holistic wellness program is the way it allows organizations to take into consideration the unique needs of employees. Instead of offering a wellness plan that only focuses on one pillar of wellness, a holistic wellness program allows employees to create a more bespoke approach to their wellness. Forcing individuals to fit certain wellness criteria to receive help can cause more harm than good, however, providing the tools for someone to discover the solutions themselves can have tremendous benefits.
When employees are healthy and know their employer values their wellbeing, these employees are more likely to stick with that organization longer. Employee retention can be difficult at times. But taking the steps to show employees you prioritize their wellbeing can help them find reasons to stick around. People often leave jobs due to bad bosses, burnout, and stress. Providing the tools to mitigate these problems helps employees and your organization.
Even with amazing employee retention, there will always be roles that need to be filled. With a great holistic wellness program, you can help attract prospective employees to your organization. Employee acquisition is key to growth and with each person attempting to find the best work environment, with the best benefits, proving why your organization is right for them can be difficult. Individuals have grown to prioritize their personal time and wellness. When your organization puts wellness first, prospective employees are willing to give you more time.
What to Include in a Holistic Wellness Program
As discussed earlier, holistic wellness programs are focused on the overall health of a person. Remember the 8 pillars. When considering what to include in your program you should default to including at least one facet to address each of the pillars. However, here are a few ideas you can consider:
- Health coverage
- Mental health coverage
- Fitness memberships
- Nutrition guides
- Stress management resources such as meditation
- Volunteer opportunities
- Encourage restorative time
- Financial resources
These are just some of the ideas you can employ in the pursuit of wellness. Explore these ideas and others with employees to see what is most useful for them.
Holistic wellness programs are a key way to ensure your business and employees are performing their best. To learn how your organization can create a culture of wellness contact a wellbeing specialist today!
The Gympass Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.