Wellness to Wellbeing: Is it time for a change to your program?

Workplace wellness programs have definitely grown in the past 20 years. While the focus in the past was on wellness programs that addressed the physical health of employees, an important shift has taken place. Employers are shifting their focus and addressing the whole person, not just the physical health of an individual. Wellness programs are confirming this change in direction and are changing their name from Wellness to Wellbeing. Wellbeing programs involve coordinated and comprehensive strategies to meet the health and wellbeing needs of their employees. Comprehensive wellbeing programs focus on several aspects of an employee’s health such as:

Physical Health – Wellbeing programs still offer physical health programs such as walking challenges, flu shots, biometric screenings, walking challenges, healthy vending options, healthy food & beverage policies, smoking cessation programs, lactation rooms and other programs that address the physical aspect of employee health.

Mental/Emotional Health – Wellness programs have addressed the mental health of employees primarily with stress management programs, but wellbeing programs integrate mental health & wellbeing as part of the culture. Wellbeing programs offer onsite meditation rooms, onsite yoga classes, employee assistance programs with unlimited one-on-one counseling, mindfulness resources, access to natural lighting and other programs and policies to address the mental and emotional wellbeing of employees.

Financial Health – The management of financial resources can be very stressful for employees and the ability to make wise financial decisions becomes essential. Wellbeing programs address the financial health of employees by first of all offering comprehensive benefits packages. Other offerings can include voluntary benefits, legal resources, employee assistance programs that offer financial planning resources, tuition reimbursement, retirement planning, identity theft protection and others.

Career/Intellectual Health – These types of programs may seem most foreign to traditional wellness programs, but an employee’s wellbeing is certainly affected by their personal satisfaction and investment in their career development at the workplace. These types of wellbeing programs address flexible work schedules, guest speakers on various educational topics, employee training, mentorship programs, paid time off policies, leadership development and more that treat the employee as a creative asset to the organization.

Social/Community Health – These programs are especially important to Millennials at the workplace, but affect all generations. Social or Community health looks at the connections that employees make at the workplace and in the larger community. Leverage the social activities that may already be part of the organization. Programs that communicate the importance of relationship such as social outings, interest groups or clubs, employee appreciation events, team building and projects in the community.

A comprehensive Wellbeing program will address the employee holistically and provide opportunities for employees to improve their overall health and wellbeing. Is it time for a title change and focus for your wellness program?

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About Diane Andrea

Diane is the Wellness Consultant for J.W. Terrill. Diane is a registered and licensed dietitian and certified health coach with over 20 years experience in the wellness field.

View all posts by Diane Andrea

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