You shouldn’t have a wellness program just because it’s the popular thing to do, just like why you shouldn’t offer yoga sessions, wellness apps, and healthy lunch options to your wellness program initiative and call it a day. Simply incorporating well-being into your company’s core values isn’t going to cut it anymore.
The last year-and-a-half gave everyone time to re-evaluate what matters most to them, in particular with their time and well-being. People realized what they value in their personal and work lives, and have more options than ever before to choose where to work or who to work for.
Well-being has been catapulted to the forefront across almost all industries, and it’s time that companies begin to listen to what it is that employees want and need. This begins with well-being, but there’s more to well-being than what employees eat, how much they sleep, and how often they meditate, especially in the future of the workplace.
There was a growing trend in the corporate world of people wanting to “quit the 9-5 to travel” or “quit their corporate job to travel the world” that practically became a tagline. Many people did just that though. There were high-level employees valuing travel over their salary and title. There was also a soaring burnout epidemic in the workplace and among business travelers who were also questioning their jobs and life values. At the same time, there was the rise in this idea for a more “freedom-based lifestyle” or to work from anywhere in the world as a digital nomad.
What did this mean for companies? That they needed to wake up and start listening to what people wanted and cared about. What this doesn’t mean is to whip up a wellness program and call it case closed.
Whether you’re catering to the well-being of your employees or business travelers, you have to address the person as a whole. Get to know your employees on a more personal level and start to incorporate travel as a key ingredient to both company culture and your wellness initiative.
It’s interesting that it was travel that people were turning to when quitting, or wanting to quit, their job. Why not quit your job to knit mittens or to sit on the couch and watch television? The answer is easy: travel is healing and fulfilling.
What many wellness programs and initiatives are missing is the embrace of travel. We all need travel to help us heal, feel and deal. We turn to travel for very personal reasons, just like wellness is personal to each of us as well. This could look like a more plentiful vacation policy, guidance and support around travel planning, sparking workplace conversations about destinations and cultures, offering sabbaticals or voluntourism opportunities, holding meetings outdoors in nature, supplying support and well-being guidance to remote workers, and more.
Wellness isn’t opening your phone and using another health app or signing up to stay longer in the workplace to attend a yoga class. Wellness means something different to all of us and involves our mental, physical, emotional and overall health.
Every company takes pride in saying that it cares about its employees and that it has a wellness program in place, but how effective is what you’re offering your employees in the first place? Is it what they truly want? Have you asked them? It’s important that your company establishes what wellness means to them. Think about whether your messaging is lining up with what’s actually being put in place.
It’s time to reassess your company’s core values and identify what sets your company apart from competitors. Remember that the ball is in the court of employees and business travelers right now. They had a lot time to rethink what path they wanted to take in life and whether that meant to start their own business to spend time with their family and to have more flexibility or to switch to another company that’s more appealing to their needs.
Consider what your company’s main goals are and what role your employees and business travelers play in them. Converse with your stakeholders and assess what your company truly cares about when it comes to the well-being and work-life balance of its employees.
Remember, a happier and healthier employee most likely means a more productive and creative employee and an effective ambassador for the company. So stop slapping a wellness label on your company’s values just because it’s the trendy thing to do and start getting authentic when it comes to the well-being of your employees and business travelers.