The workplace wellness trend is gathering pace at a time when businesses generally are looking to cut costs, so you could be excused for wondering why.
American businesses are forecast to spend approximately 15% more per employee on wellness programmes this year than last. Primary focus is leaning towards massages, gym memberships, nutrition advice and therapy, meditation and mindfulness, and financial rewards for maintaining an active lifestyle.
But, why now?
As work becomes increasingly cerebral, dynamic, and less secure, we are discovering a new stress. This is an unavoidable impact of the friction-free economy. 50 years ago economists predicted that today’s average worker would be more productive than ever, despite having tiny stress levels and huge holiday allowances as we as a society embraced the technological revolution.
Life, of course, has not exactly worked out that way for most of us. Even when we do get holiday time, the amount of it we actually spend relaxing is minimal (see our other blog article: How Much Time Do You Really Spend Relaxing).
Less and less credibility is being afforded to government statistics. However, what is certain is the rise in stress-related complaints experienced by the health sector – to the extent that the WHO has labelled workplace stress as a modern “epidemic”.
A study of US workers by the Cleveland Clinic found the primary causes of workplace stress to be the following:
- Workload (41%)
- Colleagues (32%)
- Poor Work-Life Balance (18%)
- Job Insecurity (9%)
Interesting reading if you are leading a team.
Make sure you take all your holiday allowance, and encourage your team do the same. Remove the expectation for people to be across email whilst on leave. Introduce a wellness programme (if you’re struggling, perhaps ZenDays can help). And remember the old adage: “if you don’t have the time for 30 mins of meditation per day, then you probably need an hour”.
Modern society has slowly been replacing the physical stressors of work with mental and emotional stressors at a relentless pace for years now. However, the signs are that society is now waking up to this fact and starting to fight back. As our workplaces become more and more enlightened, mental and emotional wellbeing is the new cool.