Wellness, Workplace Wellness, Corporate Wellness – what does it all mean?

 In Featured, Uncategorized, Workplace Wellness

By Josh Lambert

It is absolutely clear in the modern workplace that if you haven’t heard or overheard any of the above terms – you are now definitely in the minority! With so much hype, and a wide range of media saturation, one could be excused for cynically referring to these as “buzzwords”. Nevertheless, we spend on average 48% of our waking hours, and approximately one-third of our adult life at work.₁ Furthermore, a 2016 Australian survey concluded that nearly half of us would leave our jobs if our employers failed to meet our health and well-being needs.₂

So fair enough – we now value “wellness” more, and we know it is getting bigger and bigger. At minimum, our HR and Health & Safety teams across the country are focusing on redefining “health” at the forefront of traditional health and safety practices.

But what does it all mean you might ask?

Is wellness a fad?

Do I need to wear yoga pants to work?

What’s in it for me?

The World Health Organization defines wellness as “… a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”₃ In essence, wellness is viewed as a more holistic feeling or process of wellbeing and fulfillment (note the “process” key term given that health is a continuum and we can always improve on our current state).

Workplace wellness and Corporate Wellness are often used interchangeably in any work environment – defined as “any workplace health promotion activity or organisational policy designed to support healthy behaviour in the workplace and to improve health outcomes.”₄

Whilst this definition is universally accepted, the actual manifestation of “wellness” as a practice at workplaces can range significantly, and include anything from:

  • On-site health services eg. Doctor, Physiotherapist consultations
  • Online health information, assessments and behavioural change programs
  • Executive and senior management health assessments
  • Annual health checks
  • Voluntary one-on-one health coaching for individuals with multiple risk factors
  • Vaccinations
  • Health insurance subsidies
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Work/life balance arrangements
  • Chronic disease-specific offerings (e.g. weight loss programs, Diabetes prevention)
  • Events and challenges (e.g. Global Corporate Challenge)
  • Physical environment (e.g. accessible stairwells)
  • Provision of fruit
  • Service availability (e.g. onsite gym)

With the cost of absenteeism in Australia currently estimated at $7 billion each year, and presenteeism (defined as not fully functioning at work because of a medical condition) costing the economy more than $34 billion a year ₅ – wellness programmes will be closely monitored and refined to maximise results.

As a corporate health and wellness company, we really enjoy how differently wellness can be perceived or practised by employees – for example, our wellness centres have anything from on-site doctors and physiotherapists to barbers and beauty therapists! As the “wellness revolution” continues to grow, our interpretation of wellness may continue to develop, but one thing is very certain – the importance of health and wellness in a workplace environment will only increase with Australia’s ageing population, and the sheer time we spend in the workplace.

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment