By Sunny Adams, CPA | Manager, Audit & Assurance
Keep Wellness on the Agenda
“We’re not getting out by Christmas; deal with it” – Admiral Jim Stockdale, U.S. Navy
Approximately one year ago, the first stay-at-home orders were issued related to COVID-19. Like many others, I was sent home to work. Admittedly, in those initial weeks, it was my hope that each following week would bring the end of the pandemic. This prevented me from acknowledging and in turn, adequately addressing the shift in my world. Needless to say, in the beginning, I struggled. It was not until I recalled a passage from the book “Good to Great” by Jim Collins that I was able to truly cope. In this passage, Collins detailed his interview with Admiral Jim Stockdale of the U.S. Navy. Stockdale shared that during his time as a prisoner-of-war, it was the optimist that did not make it out. The optimist focused so heavily on their belief that they would make it home by Christmas that they lost sight of the very battle they were in.
“This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end – which you can never afford to lose – with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.” – Admiral Jim Stockdale, U.S. Navy
Now, over a year later, though we have made great strides, our previous way of life has been changed forever, and potential lasting effects of COVID-19 remain unknown as we discover our new normal. Yet, the Admiral’s words continue to influence me to remain steadfast in my hope for the end, while never losing sight of the present.
When I had the idea to share a mini wellness series, it was my intent to remind readers to keep wellness on the agenda, particularly in this COVID-era. Too often, when it comes to our health, we believe that we do not have enough time, resources, or knowledge to get started. This is due, in part, to an overcomplicated depiction of health and wellness, paired with a narrow consideration on our physical health. Health is much more than watching what we eat and trying to be more active.
The dimensions of health include spiritual, physical, emotional, mental, financial, social (or relational), environmental and vocational. Wellness, on the other hand, is the active pursuit of continued growth and balance within these dimensions. As the various aspects of health have a positive correlation, the disregard of even one over an extended period may negatively impact your overall health. Therefore, making time for health and wellness is not simply a good idea, it is a necessity.
So, what can you do to keep wellness on the agenda? Consider implementing or revamping a wellness program at your organization. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
Helping and motivating employees to become and stay healthy can benefit both the individual and the employer.
Benefits may include:
- Reduced health care costs.
- Reduced stress.
- Improved productivity.
- Help with recruitment efforts and employee retention.
- Improved employee morale.
The program should combine a focus on the employee’s health benefits with the Company’s overall objectives and cultivate a culture of good health and support healthy choices.
- Reimagine employee incentives – As COVID-19 social distancing restrictions continue, certain rewards may need to be reevaluated. For example, movie, restaurant, or spa gift cards, may continue to go unused for a while. As an alternative, you may consider at-home meal kits or rewards points that can be used anywhere. – Fond.com
- Identify digital wellness champions – Creating a team of employees to champion your cause is one of the best ways to increase engagement in a corporate wellness program. – Fond.com
- Host a virtual wellness retreat led by wellness experts.
- Subsidize healthy activities
- Encourage taking a day off – According to CNN Business, though many of us are working from home, research conducted during the pandemic shows that home-working employees are putting in more hours than before. We all need mental health days and time to re-charge.
- Set up virtual small groups – It is easier to connect in a small group compared to a large group where people may get lost. The small group atmosphere promotes flexibility and creates more opportunities for feedback. “Devoting time and energy to relationships pays off at least as fully as taking care of high blood pressure or adopting a more healthful diet.” – health.harvard.edu
- Don’t miss out on existing opportunities – Ask your employer if there is already a wellness program in place.
“Confront the brutal facts, yet never lose faith.” – Jim Collins, Good to Great.
During this pandemic, we have been reminded that change is going to come, and we will not always be ready. Despite this fact, I have heard so many inspiring stories that I know that many of us will come out of this not weakened, but stronger.
It is my hope that this series has been helpful to you and that you will keep wellness on the agenda.