The 2011 Buffett National Wellness Survey results indicate that work-related stress is considered the most important health risk facing employees, followed closely by smoking, mental health issues, and high blood pressure. Stress is a precursor to many of the health risks.
97% of Canadians feel they are responsible for ensuring their own health. 92% agree that they control their own future health and wellness. 52% report having 2 or more risk factors for chronic disease. 1 in 5 are affected by depression & or anxiety.
AND the most common barriers to adopting healthier behaviours are lack of willpower, lack of time, and lack of money.
Seems we are stuck between a rock and a hard place! What role, if any, do organizations play in our personal wellness?
Let’s look closely at Wellness Defined (2011 BNWS)
Personal Wellness: The ongoing pursuit of optimal physical and emotional well-being through education and a commitment to healthy lifestyles, in order to achieve balanced, whole-person health both personally and professionally.
Organizational Wellness: Strategic integration of organizational business objectives and individual employee needs that aim to maximize the human potential. Through supportive practices, employees and their family members are able to make changes that will contribute to diminished health risks and an improved ability to perform in all areas of life.
Employers are in a unique position to help employees achieve better health due to the considerable amount of time employees spend in the workplace and the large impact that the workplace has on all aspects of health. The current economy, which is creating increased stress and anxiety for employees, underscores the need for employers to implement preventative steps to improve the psychosocial work environment.
How do employers address the barrier of willpower? By offering programs that promote self-awareness employees can begin to remove their own internal barriers to willpower. These barriers and the resultant stress are often based on unexamined mental models, ways of seeing and interpreting interactions and experiences. The workplace is rich with opportunities to explore!
Programs that promote this level of self-awareness directly and profoundly impact teamwork and are key to improving morale. In addition, programs that increase self-awareness enable employees to make choices that can enhance their physiological well-being thereby increasing physical resiliency to stressors.
This type of program is not yet available in the workplace as a preventative approach. What might be the impact on absenteeism, turnover, and productivity if we had an opportunity to come together in groups to learn, share, and discuss the human condition? What if we became self-aware? Perhaps we could then take responsibility and control our future health and wellness. We say we want to.