The Key to Workplace Wellness Isn’t What You Think

The importance of employee wellness in the workplace continues to rise.

As a leader in HR, I’m frequently asked by employees if there is a budget for wellness offerings including massages, meditation apps, and yoga classes. Well-being perks are quickly becoming a standard employee expectation at most companies. These programs are impactful, however, throwing fast solutions at what is truly a deeper issue is a battle that will never be won.

The nonprofit group Mental Health America along with the Faas Foundation recently conducted a compelling survey that found that of 17,000 employees surveyed, 71 percent were so unhappy that they are actively seeking alternate employment options.

Throwing fast solutions at what is truly a deeper issue is a battle that will never be won.

In our current sensory-overload era of high speed information exchange, compounding stressors outside of the workplace are being carried into the office. In addition to arriving to work feeling overwhelmed, employees are feeling overlooked and under-appreciated which ultimately takes a toll on the overall workplace culture.

So what can companies do to raise morale and the well-being of their employees?

I’d like to answer this question with a personal story of a significant life event and how my work environment helped ease the high stress that I was enduring.

Recognition and Support

I found that working gave me something positive to focus on and it also a brought me a feeling of purpose.

In 2013 my marriage fell apart. For those who have gone through a divorce, the experience is scary, lonely, and yields unprecedented stress. Some use the transitional experience to embark on an entirely new life path. Some travel the world to find a new sense of self. I chose to continue working. I found that working gave me something positive to focus on and it also a brought me a feeling of purpose.

The stress of being a leader in HR is already considerable and with the added emotional roller coaster of a drawn out divorce, it was a lot to manage at one time. I was lucky to have several workplace relationships that supported me through my personal journey of growth and healing.

Each time that I met with my manager for our weekly one-on-one he would genuinely ask me how I was doing. He offered his ear if I needed someone to talk with about my divorce, serving as both a trusted sounding board as well as my work manager. I felt that I had a safe space to be open and honest about what I was going through that week.

My manager’s consistent recognition of my hard work and contributions made me feel valued Click To Tweet

My manager’s consistent recognition of my hard work and contributions made me feel valued and helped me to see the positive impact that I was making. That emotional support and acknowledgement made a world of difference in helping me manage my personal stress levels while at work.

The Importance of Teamwork

Another vital healthy relationship that brought me joy and a sense of support was with my team. Our close-knit dynamic was one that truly cared for one another’s livelihood which deemed essential for our own sanity as an HR team, and for helping us manage our own personal stress.

Instead of my work being a dreaded daily habit, I found it to be a place of solace amidst my difficult divorce process.

The work environment of our team was positive and supportive. We also enjoyed spending time together outside of the office, which was truly an added perk. Instead of my work being a dreaded daily habit, I found it to be a place of solace amidst my difficult divorce process.

Practicing yoga and receiving a chair massage at work are certainly helpful stress relievers but they do not ensure that the office will be an inspirational and healthy place to be on a daily basis. The interactions that employees share with their managers and peers is ultimately what matters most.

Managers regularly verbalizing the value that employees bring to the organization and offering a listening ear are two valuable ways to create a safe environment for employees. These are the crucial well-being offerings that every workplace needs to build into their culture in order to ensure lasting employee wellness.

The interactions that employees share with their managers and peers is ultimately what matters most Click To Tweet

My divorce was deeply transformational and also a highly stressful experience. Thanks to the acknowledgment and authentic care of my manager and team members, I had a positive reason to keep showing up to the office.

The sense of purpose that my workplace brought me was key in the management of my personal life stress. I was able to find balance and peace of mind. In the end, the health of your workplace environment makes all of the difference.

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