Over the past 10 years working within the field of human resources, there has been a noticeable shift in how corporations are approaching their wellbeing within their workplaces. What was once a wellbeing week with a step challenge and a fruit delivery, we’re now noticing a movement to wellbeing strategies, to shifting our lens to a wider focus of wellbeing, to understanding that wellbeing is not just a physical thing, that it includes mental wellbeing, emotional wellbeing, financial wellbeing and companies are seeing the importance of putting the employee’s wellbeing at the forefront of business strategy. We now see that a happier, healthier workforce, makes for a more productive one. We know this in theory, and while we continue to see the shift within corporations and their wellbeing strategies, we do still of course see those who may not see the full benefits of a wellbeing strategy or indeed, may have a wellbeing programme purely as a tick the box exercise. My experience has allowed me to to see the good, the bad and the jaw on the floor type programmes!

THE STATS ON CORPORATE WELLBEING…

Forbes recently published an article on the connection of employee engagement and wellness. It’s headlines included that healthy and engaged employees, in concert with a strong workplace culture, are the secret sauce for business success. An alarming statistic that they showed was 61% of employees would experience burn out in the job. And, 87% of employees expect their employer to support them in balancing work and personal commitments. 87% of us! If you think about the pace of life and the expectations we can set ourselves, as well has (as) having expectations set for us, this means that now more than ever we need to start seriously looking at wellbeing for ourselves within our working worlds.

Last week I posted my thoughts on workplace wellbeing and set a challenge for those watching to take control of their own wellness and to kick off their own wellbeing strategy for themselves. While corporate wellness is not a new concept, there are employees who are working for corporates who don’t see the value of wellbeing or do have a programme but use it to tick the box. (Spoiler alert! Everyone sees through the ticking of the boxes! It doesn’t work!)

IT’S NOT ONE SIZE FITS ALL, IT’S ONE SIZE FITS ONE…

“It’s not one size fits all, it’s one size fits one” – a saying from a colleague of mine who mentioned this recently. It’s certainly a saying that can be applied to wellness and your own wellbeing. If we think about the ‘old school’ wellbeing programmes (the step challenge and the fruit delivery once a year), oftentimes this only relates to those who place more value in physical wellbeing. Sure, there are countless studies that state that physical activity has more than an impact on your physical wellbeing but there may be people who right now in their own world, they need more focus on mental wellbeing, or financial wellbeing more than they need a step challenge and a piece of fruit! Jane who sits next to you and Joe who sits opposite you may value this for their wellbeing and it may have a positive impact on them. This doesn’t mean Jane and Joe are doing this right and you’re doing it wrong, it’s more so that what is fitting Jane and Joe right now is not the right size for you.

How often have we sat back and asked ourselves the question:

WHAT DOES WELLNESS WITHIN MY WORKING WORLD LOOK LIKE?

So often we focus on our personal wellbeing but when do we bring this into our working environment and why can’t we incorporate them both? After all, aren’t we the same human being who goes to work and also has a personal life?

CRAFTING A SIZE FIT TO YOUR NEEDS

Easier said than done though, right? It’s easier to say that we’re going to take hold of our own corporate wellness and control what’s within our control. It’s another thing actioning this and setting out new boundaries (potentially) and setting new expectations (again, potentially).

From my own experiences, had someone suggested to me a few years ago to take control of my own corporate wellness I would have challenged them on their thinking. Having experienced burnout, my resilience was on the floor and in full transparency, I didn’t really have much of a fight in me to reset my boundaries and my expectations. Saying ‘no’ was a difficult thing for me to do. I’d set out my stall in a way that hindsight meant that it probably wasn’t the best for my own wellness. There were days and weeks that I would set my alarm for 4.30am to train at 5am and be in the office for 7am and usually one of the last to leave the office 12 or so hours later. I realise now that this was madness and I don’t write this for a badge of honour. Anything but. What I learned from that period in my career was that I thought wellness for me was a 5am heavy training session, that it was okay to work around the clock and walk out of the office every evening drained and upset because I was climbing the corporate ladder.

As we all know, hindsight is a wonderful thing! But, so is being able to learn from experiences. I decided to walk away from this environment but take my learnings on what worked and didn’t work for me for my own corporate wellness and bring this going forward.

It may not always be as easy to walk away from your current environment. So, what is within your control in order to be able to put your own corporate wellness ahead of other priorities that a corporation can set out for an employee?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What does wellness right now look like for you in your working world?
  • What are your non-negotiables?
  • What can you disregard and leave behind?
  • What is your why?

This last question allows you to come back to your values and to what’s important to you. It will allow you to come back to why you’re doing what you’re doing. It’s a fantastic question to ask yourself and something that is often used on my own self coaching journey and also with coaching clients.

So the next time you think about corporate wellness and your own wellbeing, ask yourself ‘what’s right for me, right now?’ and, ‘what’s within my control?’

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