In my previous article about what most corporate wellness programs are lacking, I listed the need for onsite holistic evaluations; stress education and relief; and education about environmental toxins. While these are some of the most needed additions, there are several other things that I feel these programs must start including in order to provide employees with the best possible health and wellness benefits.
Four more important corporate wellness program additions are:
1. Flexible Work and Vacation Hours
Some companies have started providing employees flexible work hours, including four-day workweeks – and I offer kudos to them! What these companies realize, and what many more should, is that their employees have lives, families, obligations, and needs outside of their jobs. Flexible work hours and the ability to work from home when necessary enable employees to schedule their jobs around their most important obligations. That way, they can focus on their work when they are on the clock. This benefit reduces stress, increases productivity, and improves employee job satisfaction.
2. Individualized Evaluations and Eating Plans
Obesity is the number one cause of health problems leading to early death. What companies need to understand is that people are overweight for a multitude of different reasons. A person’s body type, genetics, and life situation can all affect their weight. They also determine ways to best manage it. Additionally, it is important to take into account how a person’s body responds to exercise and how well it metabolizes food. There are so many different factors that can lead a person to be overweight; therefore, there is no single one-size-fits-all solution to the obesity epidemic. Giving employees individualized strategies for achieving weight loss promotes higher success rates.
3. Encouragement to Turn Off and Tune Out… of Work-Mode, That Is
Nobody should be on the clock 24 hours a day. Unfortunately, it is not hard to find an abundance of employees who are frequently on-call or who feel the need to put in several hours of extra time just to keep up with their heavy workload. In fact, the Washington Post reports that today’s average work week in corporate America is 47 hours long. That’s an average. That means that many employees are working well over 50 hours a week, and this is not healthy. Of course, key employees need to be in attendance or available at crucial at times. However, these employees should be compensated for their extra work with time away from the office, so that they can unwind.
4. Inclusion of Complementary and Alternative Approaches to Wellness
As I mentioned before, studies prove that supplementing regular medical treatment with holistic approaches improves patient outcomes. My own clients have provided me with overwhelming feedback that has backed up this claim. Sadly, insurance companies and employers are loath to include coverage for holistic medicine treatments, and I think this is a shame.
Corporate wellness programs work best when they offer and cover several different forms of alternative medicine. These should include:
• Chinese Medicine: including such practices as tui na, cupping, and acupuncture.
• Access to a Medical Intuitive: These holistic healers may be able to diagnose the root cause of chronic illnesses and maladies and can prescribe safe alternative treatments that will complement conventional ones.
• Knowledge of Ayurveda principles: This healing philosophy emphasizes balance; moderation of feed intake, sleep and sex; and the acceptance of natural urges.
• Access to yoga, meditation, or chakra healing classes: All holistic forms of healing and wellness should be encouraged, so that employees can discover what works best for them.
Holistic strategies work at providing wellness for many ailments (such as those related to stress, anxiety, or feelings of low energy) much better than conventional medicine. In the case of acute illnesses, however, conventional medical therapies are important, and adding holistic therapies as complementary medicine can do a lot to improve the outcomes of these treatments.
Will Your Company Adopt a Well-Rounded Corporate Wellness Program?
Most people are aware that corporations such as Google and SAS are great places to work. These companies understand that their employees and consultants are their most valuable assets, and they encourage them to lead healthy lives. Because of this, they attract the best-of-the-best to work for them. Your company can also attract better employees and improve employee retention by including a well-rounded corporate wellness program with their employee benefits. Will it?