The good news? More companies, large and small, are recognizing that helping employees stay healthy is a good idea. The bad news? No one has figured out how to do it. Hence the mess.
But I also see opportunity. And that’s what’s on my mind.
This is the year to seize this opportunity—together. It’s one of the reasons this topic will be on our agenda at the Global Wellness Summit in Mexico City this November. The timing is right. In preparation, I’d like everyone to experiment with workplace wellness in their current workplace: Try something you think could make a difference. And let me know what you learn.
While the U.S. is currently a bit more engaged with this issue than many other countries, it is beginning to be a global conversation. Those of us in the wellness world need to be part of the conversation—no, actually, I think we should be leading the conversation. Why? Because we have been working for a long time to help people make positive, long-term, lifestyle changes. We know the impact these changes can have. And that’s part of the opportunity for our industry.
Most companies are currently wading through the “noise” out there, trying to learn about what works and what doesn’t work. It’s overwhelming because there is a lot of conflicting data. Turns out it is somewhat of a complex undertaking.
We know for sure there is no magic bullet. We know it isn’t just education that is needed but motivation, inspiration and community building. We know that leadership and culture are important and that carrots and sticks can become a minefield.
So at the Global Wellness Institute, we’re wading into the “mess” and exploring workplace wellness in our 2015 research report. We want to know how to make workplace wellness really work! We want to look at this topic through our wellness lens, offering a new perspective. Katherine Johnston and Ophelia Yeung, our senior research fellows, have been combing through the literature, interviewing experts and preparing several surveys that will result in what I believe will be a definitive report on the subject. They will be presenting the results at the Mexico City Summit.
I am also enjoying reading through past research studies and what’s been written about this topic lately (it’s a lot). And I find myself engaged in conversations with many people about their experiences or viewpoints. And I am learning a great deal about what works and what doesn’t work from personal experience instituting a program in our company. It’s fascinating, and the more I hear, the more I know we all have a ways to go!
So the bottom line is I want to encourage everyone who is coming to the Summit to address the workplace wellness issue at your place of work now. Do something—anything. Because as the topic is explored, the opportunities for those of us in the wellness world will come into focus. This is an arena that we haven’t even begun to tap.