15 January 2020
In the corporate context, the concept of wellness has often been associated only with regards to the physical health of an employee, and employers have historically been focusing their wellness plans around these. However, ‘wellness’ may not just mean good health to all the employees. For someone, it can be physical wellness, while for some mental wellbeing can be more important. Therefore, focusing on a singular aspect of wellness is likely to be inadequate in employee satisfaction and in designing a plan that fits everyone.
Holistic employee wellness has evolved as a new concept in recent times. With organisations recognising employees as their biggest asset, it has become increasingly important to ensure their holistic wellbeing. There are certain essentials that constitute holistic employee wellness. These can be broadly classified as physical wellness, mental wellness, social wellness, career wellness, and financial wellness.
Workplaces may not have a significant direct effect on the physical wellness of an employee, but they can take measures that ensure better lifestyle choices that are healthier for their employees. Practical or flexible working hours is a good way to assure that employees do not get overworked. Organisations can also promote good health by providing options such as standing desks, gymnasium, healthier food, and others to help employees be healthier.
Continuous work can also affect the physical health of an employee, thus proper relaxation and rejuvenation programs can also be implemented.
The mental health of employees is an increasingly prominent issue in today’s workplaces. Employees now often report work stress, depression, poor work-life balance and more. This not only affects them as a person but also their productivity as an employee. Thus, employers may be risking productivity if they ignore the mental health of their employees.
Therefore, there is certainly a pressing need for understanding the requirements of employees to ensure they are not mentally stressed, and working environment plays an important role in this. Organisations would do well to hire experts that can suggest specialized plans to deal with mental issues of employees.
Employees spend almost ⅓ of their life at the workplace. Not surprisingly then, their social life is greatly affected by their life at work. While employees constantly work, collaborate and brainstorm together, this is not an indicator that their interpersonal relationships are just as good. Employers understand this, which is why they organise various programs with a focus on making employees more comfortable with each other and the workplace more relaxed.
Social wellness can also improve the relationship between a superior and subordinate, and help iron out any differences that may arrive at a workplace.
Employees naturally desire a career with some sense of direction in their organisation. Stagnation is best avoided, and that is made possible with opportunities to hone skills, progress in roles and positions, and being recognised for contributions.
To ensure improvement in career wellness, employers may want to initiate leadership programs, where extraordinary performers can be recognised and trained to become leaders for tomorrow. Their job should be tied to giving the organisation the right push, so they feel their job is relevant and recognised.
Perhaps the most critical factor in these paradigms that employers tend to overlook is financial wellness. Financial wellness does not only constitute better pay, it includes all related benefits an employee receives as well. All such benefits should often be consulted with the employees. Financial plans are never one-size-fits-all. With every employee sharing unique goals and plans, programs should be changed and broadened as and when needed.
Employees also want to start planning their future as soon as possible. Thus, it becomes an employers responsibility to train their employees about good financial management. Programs to help them understand various financial schemes, retirement planning, financially investing for long-term goals, will help the employees to a great extent.
Organisations may also want to connect employees with services that offer quick and hassle-free access to credit, like EarlySalary. Money, after all, is an enabler – and credit is how this enablement is executed.
It is time for employers to look beyond the paycheck and start thinking of employees as not only a productive asset, but also understand their human needs.