Build well-being into your organization’s DNA

Happy freelancer communicating with colleagues on lunch break at work.

What comes to mind when you hear the term workplace wellness?

Fitness challenges? Nutrition education?

Historically, fitness and nutrition initiatives were the bedrocks of wellness. And, while good intentioned, they were incomplete, as evidenced by the continued increases in chronic conditions, mental health issues and a disengaged workforce.

A new view of workplace wellness

Today, there’s a more effective approach to workplace well-being, but it requires some new thinking around wellness programs.  

Mindshift #1
Wellness initiatives are more holistic than in the past. Evolved wellness asks, have you had social connections throughout your day? Are you feeling professionally fulfilled? Are you using your strengths every day? Are you active in the community and your surroundings? Are you feeling financially fit?

Mindshift #2
Effective wellness puts more focus on creating an environment where employees can thrive day in and day out rather than the traditional individual, isolated wellness activities we knew in the past.

So how do you create the environment for a holistic wellness movement? It’s not as hard as you might think.

Easy ways to begin the shift

It doesn’t matter whether your employee count is two or 1,200, when you incorporate wellness into your leadership practices, it becomes part of your organization’s DNA.

At BCBSND, we have the training and tools to help organizations transition to a more effective wellness movement. However, there are a few things every organization can do now:   

  1. Engage your managers
    Managers are in a unique position to influence team members’ lives inside and out of work. Managers set the tone by what they do—and don’t do—every day. Start with asking two simple questions: “How are you doing?” and “How can I help?” and watch employee engagement rise. Managers are the key to success.
  2. Set an example
    Leaders set the tone for well-being. That doesn’t mean you need to become a marathon runner but look at your daily habits. Do you practice self-care? Do you leave your desk at lunchtime? Are you regularly emailing staff after hours?
  3. Promote what you’ve got
    • Consider your employee benefits—beyond what you typically consider as wellness. Can you connect them to well-being and encourage participation? For example:
    • EAPs, which are typically under promoted and underutilized
    • Financial health tools, like 401(k), college savings plan
    • Training opportunities
    • Volunteer opportunities
    • Wellness offerings from your insurance company like wellness portals, etc. 
  4. Build well-being into your day

Don’t think of wellness as another “to-do” on your list. Instead, build wellness activities into the structure of your day.

  • Talk about well-being as a value with your team
  • Incorporate walking or standing meetings
  • Encourage people to share wellness-related apps for budgeting, mindfulness, etc.
  • Start meetings with a quick social connection activity
  • Involve your team in generating more ideas

If you have health coverage with BCBSND, you have a tool chest of well-being benefits, training and materials available to help you create a wellness movement in your organization.

BOOKS to consider: Workplace Wellness that Works by Laura Putnam