Wellness By Design

By Default, things happen; by design, we make things happen.
It's quintessential to adapt to the changing need of the dynamic and challenging world. The way and place of work have demanded a revisit in terms of approach, model and policies. People want to be appreciated, but they wish for organizations to realize the overall need, including well-being as primary factors.
The boundaries between work and home have faded to the extent that, in most cases, it's improbable to identify, define or control. A never-envisioned way of work emerged overnight when employees were limited to WFH for an unspecified period, leaving them clueless, directionless, and uncertain about every associated perspective of family, work, and life. Balance lost its existence; employees struggled to start the new phase as nobody knew where they were headed and for how long. Employees alone could survive very little; they looked for security, understanding, support, care, and help.
As per the recent Oracle report, few alarming figures reflected the current scenario where 75% say the pandemic has negatively affected their mental health, 68% of people would prefer to talk to a robot over their manager about stress and anxiety at work, 85% of people say their mental health issues at work negatively affect their home life.
The stress level was humungous, and the organizations took note of it at the right time. Employers immediately adopted the game's new rules where emotions were to be placed and considered above numbers. The intent and purpose were clear, but the situation was such that only technology could have enabled the holistic employee experience and engagement plan. Most organizations implemented the TEAM model to sail through this crisis: Technology, Empathy, Adaptability, and Mindfulness. It did wonders to people who stood for their teams when members needed it most.
A study by the American Psychological Association states that psychologically healthy workplace practices can be grouped into five categories: Employee Recognition, Employee growth and Development, Work-life balance, health, and safety, and Employee Involvement. Organizations needed to include all the aspects of wellness while defining the strategies. A plan that is PEOPLE centric: Purposeful, Engaging, Open, Participative, Logical, and Enabling. Installing a culture that fosters employee wellness helps decrease job turnover, increase trust index, better collaboration, increase job satisfaction, manage stress, reduce absenteeism, etc.
Wellness now is not just confined to Office but home too. Organizations, when defining Wellness strategy, should consider the stated factors, using the acronym of DESIGN; to present the INTENT of the said strategy:
Doable: People spend half – or more – of their day online; technology is the thing! Conventional ways may not help all the time; for effective collaboration, organizations have to work on the approach/s- Digital, Personal, Hybrid; whatever suits the team and the business most. The wellness plan should identify not only what you want but also what you can achieve. It should factor in the current situation, need, organization's ability, correlation, and timeframe, not just the trend.
Empathetic: As per the Career Builder report, 3 in 5 workers say they are burned out in their current job, and 31% of respondents report significantly elevated stress levels at work. Organizations should use the power and potential of empathy to recognize individual needs before defining the plan to improve the quality of the initiatives offered to the employees to enable and empower them. A culture that promotes open communication and has a robust feedback system helps the company and the employee align to the purpose, goal, and values.
Simple:  Not all employees can follow the same routine; offering flexibility creates a positive environment and help them to be what they are and what they want to be, which directly boosts their productivity and engagement. The organization and employees should be able to timely decode the purpose and intent to participate, support, and benefit from the defined plan.
Intuitive: Plan ahead! It's better to PREPARE than REPAIR. Employees expect organizations to cater to the current essential needs but also be future-centric. Deep dive using Data based employee experience/wellness insights to define, update, tweak or change the plan when required is the necessity of the hour.
Goal: SMART goals help organizations access, plan, implement, review and rework when needed to purposefully meet the wellness requirements of the changing times and the changing needs of the employees. The WHY has to be proactively defined and shared with all the stakeholders; that's when they buy in.
Need-based: It's ok if employees wish to talk to a BOT, not the manager! What's needed, when given, is valued most. Organizations may launch the best of initiatives, but they will surely fail if that's not in line with their people and business requirement and capability. We are in a unique phase that will continue forever, which will ask for unique initiatives, policies, and programs for each unique individual. Unique, Digital, Personalized solutions will answer most of the questions in the coming years.
As per Virgin Pulse report for 78% of employers, Employee well-being, is a vital part of business plans, indicating that organizations are not going by the default model but investing well to see the change and take care of their people. The equation was further verified when a survey done by United Healthcare showed that 56% of employees had fewer sick days and higher productivity levels because of wellness programs. The same is approved by a survey conducted by Forbes, which says about 77% of employees feel that workplace wellness programs positively impact the company culture.
The outbreak of this pandemic has taken a massive toll on everyone's life. Organizations have learned from this crisis that all they have is PEOPLE; it's essential to understand and improve employee wellness at all scales. The covid-19 crisis pushed us to accept that well-being of employees is far important than the numbers. The strategic priority list saw the shift like never before, moving employee safety and well-being as number 1. Creating a culture that encourages wellness plans has become the need of the hour. If people are well taken care of, they will ensure organizations' priorities and processes are in place. It took a pandemic to make us realize what we are missing, but the lesson is learned by all forever. In the coming and later years, the organization will win the game if they continue to place personalized WELLNESS Strategy in their priority list WELL. No “ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL” approach will do any magic. Stay emotional, digital and personal! Healthy people mean healthy business.

Invest well in your people; for them to invest back in you!
Wellness health and well-being hr leadership design people centric technology hr adaptability mindfulness purposeful