Health is wealth, goes the old adage. This is true not only for an individual but also for an organization. When the employees are healthy, they do not need leaves due to sickness, the energy and enthusiasm at workplace stays high, engagement levels go up, employees feel good to come to work, customers love the company’s products and services. Needless to say, it’s a happy story for everyone, an ideal situation. India Inc. is not there yet, but how near are we?
Given the pollution levels and poor infrastructure in our cities, employees are exposed to high levels of physical stress and mental agony. We see increasing number of employees seeking day-off due to health issues such as headache, body pain, back pain, bouts of asthma attacks, migraine, stomach upset and so on. Such illnesses not only create disruption and loss for the employee but also for the business. We have to build a culture of wellness which can prevent some of these illnesses.
As technology has increased connected-ness in our world, instantaneity is running a riot. We want everything to happen quickly. This is sharply visible in a young country like India. In this backdrop, all organizations in India face a tougher challenge than many of their global peers to engage with their employees meaningfully. The subject of wellness could be the answer!
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
In the last couple of decades, increasing number of organizations invested on employee wellness. Most common programs are setting up a fitness center or offering membership to a gym or a health club, holding fitness classes, consultation with dietician, yoga classes. Some organizations encouraged their employees for car-pooling and bike-pooling. Menu of snacks and meals in the cafeteria has been revamped to include less fats. Annual medical check-ups and health camps have been organized in company premises. Anyone can imagine, it is a long list and takes huge amount of efforts and a significant sum of money to implement. These programs have helped companies stand out in a crowd, but the jury is out if employee wellness has improved.
Technology is a big boon
This approach of company-wide program has lost its lustre. We are looking at customizable wellness programmes based on individual’s needs. As technology has been improving, there are scores of Apps which connect to wearables and track the person’s activities. These not only provide the individual a detailed snapshot of his or her health but also recommend possible actions. Such levels of personalization keeps the individual in its focus and hence, less likely to be ignored or taken lightly.
Secondly, some of these apps gamify the process and involve the user in the wellness programmes. Users get to compete as individuals and groups, get rewarded and showcase their achievements and recognition on the social media. This indirectly plays on the psyche of the users to spur into action. We see more people participate in marathons, join games and sports activities, become members of fitness clubs and so on. Gamification of wellness activities is playing a positive role.
Are Apps the Silver Bullet?
Leading a lifestyle that brings calmness and positivity is a personal choice. It takes significant amount of personal character to adopt healthy practices. Employer can create an environment, apps can help, wearables and similar such technology can enable. However, the action of walking, running, staying away from unhealthy food and lifestyle has to be carried out by the individual. This cannot be outsourced to anyone!
Last but not the least, organizations with character and visionary leadership can only build an environment that boosts employee wellness. No amount of apps, fitness clubs and healthy snacks are going to help if the leaders in the organization do not walk the talk. They need to set the tone around wellness. They need to openly talk about it, recognize achievers and appreciate behaviours of managers who run their teams without distress. Fundamentals remain constant!
Great organizations care for employee wellness. They demonstrate their belief through the character of their leaders and leverage all possible avenues to enhance wellness.
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