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Healthy, Happy, & Whole at Work: Cultivating Wellness Together

Do you drag yourself out of bed to face another stressful day on the job? Or do you spring out of bed, excited about the day ahead? Most of us have experienced both at times, but the latter mindset leads to better health and performance. This is why implementing a well-rounded employee wellness program needs to become a top priority for every organization.


As a therapist who works with numerous companies, I've seen firsthand the incredible benefits that workplace wellness initiatives can provide. My goal with this blog is to open your eyes to just how valuable investing in your employees' physical and mental health can be - for them as individuals, and for your organization as a whole. The research on this speaks volumes, but I also want to speak from the heart here.


We Spend Most of Our Lives at Work


Let's face it - with commute times and the usual 9-5 schedule, we spend most of our waking hours at work. Shouldn't we make that environment as uplifting and healthy as possible? Individual health practices are important, but the spaces we inhabit daily also greatly impact our wellbeing. This “wellness culture” lifts up entire companies.


The mindset shift here is understanding that your employees’ needs are intertwined with organizational success. Supporting your team’s personal growth, reducing their stress, and promoting healthy lifestyles leads to better focus, creativity, productivity and loyalty. In contrast, an unhealthy and unhappy employee becomes withdrawn, distracted and disengaged.


The Stress Epidemic Impacts Companies


Here’s an alarming statistic for you: 77% of people regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress. This includes headaches, gastrointestinal issues, worsening chronic conditions like heart disease, and more. Additionally, 80% feel mentally drained and fatigued due to high stress levels.


What does this mean for employers? Stress negatively impacts productivity, performance quality, retention rates, absenteeism, and healthcare/insurance costs. Individual lifestyle changes can only do so much when people feel constant pressure in a toxic work environment. Implementing positive practices for stress relief and better balance is key.


Cultivating Mental Health & Resilience


While counselling and stress reduction initiatives are fantastic, I believe the focus should start with preventative mental health support. Did you know that 1 in 5 adults struggle with mental illness like anxiety and depression? And considering the stress statistics we just mentioned, this is clearly interrelated.


Here are just some of the proactive mental health strategies companies can implement:


  • Offer free therapy sessions and mental health days

  • Train leaders in emotional intelligence and mental health first aid

  • Encourage open conversations around mental health without judgment

  • Evaluate workload balance and expectations

  • Discuss mental health coping skills in meetings or wellness programs

  • Conduct resilience training and provide support resources

  • Taking this wide-lens view goes beyond any individual contributors to address the systemic issues impacting employees' wellbeing. And supporting mental health first builds resilience when life’s inevitable stressors occur. The benefits here speak for themselves - improved self worth, communication, fulfillment and ability to manage complexity pay off hugely.  

Additional Wellness Offerings to Consider


While I believe tending to mental health is most critical, a comprehensive employee wellness program also accounts for physical health, proper rest, nutrition, recreation and work-life balance.


Some examples I recommend considering:


  • Gym memberships or fitness challenges

  • Healthy snacks/lunches for the office

  • Standing/walking desks and ergonomic equipment

  • Nap rooms

  • Discouraging after-hours work emails

  • Flexible schedules or remote work options

  • Team building activities outside the office

  • Extra paid time off and parental leave

  • Build an Inspiring Culture

While all these individual elements contribute to employee wellness and resilience, they must be part of an inspiring bigger picture too. Do people enjoy coming to work every day, take pride in shared accomplishments, and feel part of a welcoming culture? Profile your top performers - chances are their engagement stems from passion and purpose in their roles.


Now expand those motivational forces company wide! Remind everyone that they all contribute an important piece making your organization thrive. Support personal and professional growth by encouraging people to learn new skills and take on aspirational projects. And connect wellness initiatives to higher purpose as well - for example, a volunteer day supporting mental health builds community while doing social good.


The research is clear on this - purpose and community amplify physical health, happiness, satisfaction, belonging and performance. A culture putting people first keeps inspiring its members to pass that positivity forward in an upward spiral that lifts companies to soaring heights!


Investing in people pays dividends through strengthened loyalty, innovation, service quality and financial results. If that’s not convincing enough, remember that workplace wellness also reduces risks like burnout-related turnover or PR headaches from negative company culture stories. And on a human level, these practices spread more joy while alleviating suffering - which we could all use more of both personally and professionally!


The First Step is Yours


I sincerely hope this peek into the incredible benefits of workplace wellness, especially tending to mental health, persuades you to take action. Just imagine the positive ripple effects throughout teams and culture when employees feel uplifted, motivated, balanced and supported in reaching their potential. It starts with leadership prioritizing people first - so have that conversation about what your organization’s wellness program could entail.


If any questions arise exploring this further, I’m always happy to chat or brainstorm ideas. This is my passion and I love assisting companies in building happier, healthier and more resilient cultures focused on mutual growth. You have so much to gain by making this a priority from both a human perspective and a business performance standpoint. Just take that first step and wellness momentum follows!

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