Lead Content Specialist
Lead Content Specialist
An Employee’s Health is the Sum of All of Their Parts
According to the CDC, nearly 50% of Americans live with at least one chronic disease. It’s easy to lead this back to physical factors, such as exercise and diet, but what if there was more to it than that? Surely, there has to be more underlying as to why so many individuals are falling into this category.
As we all know, no two people are exactly alike – especially when it comes to health matters. It might be easy for someone to exercise daily, but they have high stress levels. Another might have great eating habits, but family obligations and commute time eat into hours of much needed sleep. As individuals, we regularly make compromises and sacrifices to find balance. All too often, work suffers during this game of life – but it doesn’t have to. Taking a more holistic approach to benefits gets to the core of health challenges, leading to happier, healthier, more productive individuals.
So, what is holistic health?
As the name would suggest, holistic health is an approach that addresses the whole person – body, mind, and spirit. All areas of life are closely connected and factor into the overall health and wellbeing of a person. The goal is to achieve maximum wellbeing, by getting at the root of what might be causing issues – for example, maybe an employee is struggling financially, and as a result has high stress, leading to chronic headaches and back pain.
Here is where corporate wellbeing efforts can make a difference outside of the doctor’s office. Providing resources for employees, aside from the standard health insurance package, could lead to better management of those outside-of-work players that ultimately lead to how well things go at work.
Coming back to the financially stressed employee example, access to financial planning services could help the individual get at the root of what is ultimately contributing to the physical pain. By solving some of the financial struggles, stress may decrease, and eventually lead to less frequent headaches and back pain.
In a 2017 study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, it was found that “30% of employees are distracted by their finances at work and 46% of the distracted employees say they spend three hours or more at work each week dealing with issues related to their personal finances.” What’s more, is that 35% of those stressed by finances indicated that this has had an impact on their health.
Beyond finances, expanding into a more holistic wellbeing program means addressing the other dimensions of wellness as well. Here are some ways employers can implement a multidimensional approach:
Physical – offer onsite screenings, incorporate healthy food policies, or offer area or time for physical activity breaks
Emotional – offer an employee assistance program and mental health services or things that promote work/life balance such as childcare, flexible hours or working remotely
Intellectual – offer in-house trainings or set aside a budget to allow employees to choose workshops or courses to expand their skills and work on personal development
Social – offer team-building activities, company celebrations, or organize events outside the office to create strong relationships
Spiritual – organize company volunteer opportunities to help employees find purpose and meaning, encourage meditation practices for stress relief, create diversity programs that promote inclusive cultures
Occupational – help employees create a clear career pathway, show them they are valued, and offer constructive reviews to help them advance and grow
Environmental – maintain a healthy office environment by making employees comfortable and safe, allow for standing desks or ergonomic products, emphasize a focus on the environment through saving energy or recycling
Benovate’s four pillars, health, relationship, growth, and finance, encompass all dimensions of wellbeing to support a whole person approach to employee heath, and identifies what the individual needs based on living surveys within the program. As you expand your benefits to take on a more holistic approach, information about your specific resources can be targeted towards those that need it most, when they need it. Learn more about how we can support your program by setting up a demo with our team.
Surveying employees to determine key areas of strain and interest is vital in successfully launching into your benefits transformation. Once you’ve decided on your program elements, communication should be done often and consistently. As employees lives change, the relevance of programs may come and go and it cannot be expected that they will remember all that is available if it’s only communicated through their benefits packet.
Special Report: Financial Stress and the Bottom Line. PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2017, Special Report: Financial Stress and the Bottom Line, www.pwc.com/us/en/private-company-services/publications/assets/pwc-financial-stress-and-bottom-line.pdf.