EXPERT SHARES PASSION FOR WORKPLACE WELLNESS
There’s a reason you feel like the workweek never ends.
Americans work more hours per year than most of their peers in other industrialized nations. That’s according to the World Economic Forum. We work 266 more hours than folks in the United Kingdom and 424 more hours than Germans.
Since we spend so much time working, shouldn’t our offices be healthier and happier places to be?
CBIZ Wellbeing Account Executive Anna Panzarella thinks so. She’s on a mission to help AHRIC partners set up customized wellbeing programs to better support their employees.
“If you take care of your employees, they’ll take care of your organization,” she said.
5 DOMAINS OF WELL-BEING
Anna discovered her passion for workplace wellness as she studied to become a registered dietitian in Seattle. Later, she served as a health coach and corporate wellness coordinator for WebMD Health Services.
In that role, she worked with human resources teams and executives to support tens of thousands of employees.
She said the definition of wellness has evolved in recent years. People tend to think first about physical wellness, with programs that help employees with fitness, weight loss and managing health risks.
But the research-based model that Anna uses includes 4 other “domains” as well:
Purpose: Helping people with their career paths, and feeling that they play a meaningful role within their organizations.
Social: Fostering positive employee interaction both inside and outside the workplace.
Financial: Ensuring resources are in place to support people’s financial needs.
Community: Making sure employees feel connected to where they work and live.
The overall goal is to help employees feel supported in all aspects of their lives.
NEED FOR WELLNESS INCREASES
Anna said this is so important in today’s world where people feel “stressed out to the max.”
Research shows that Americans don’t sleep enough, and they often don’t have the tools to practice effective stress management. These factors can increase certain health risks.
When employees bring their challenges to work, it costs organizations in several ways. Employers may find it difficult to retain staff or they experience high rates of presenteeism. That’s when employees come to the office, but don’t work at full capacity because of illness, injury or another condition.
A disengaged workforce also can erode an organization’s culture, and eventually, its bottom line.
HOW TO GET STARTED
Anna said she customizes every program she designs to the employer’s needs. She begins by sitting down with the human resources team to document the organization’s main objectives for wellness.
From there, Anna and her team look at any existing data – from insurance records to employee surveys. This information forms the basis for a strategic wellness plan.
Each HR team at AHRIC receives an annual wellbeing toolkit, which outlines the group’s wellbeing strategy. This includes tools and resources to support the organization every step of the way.
Next, she helps the HR team rollout the plan with events and other forms of employee communication. AHRIC partners have access to their own wellness portal via the American Institute of Preventative Medicine. AIPM offers content and tools to help employees make the most of their programs.
Finally, Anna helps her clients evaluate their wellness efforts to ensure they’re on track. Common metrics include rates of employee participation, positive changes in culture and reduced health risks.
“It’s going to be different for every organization, no matter what industry you’re in, because it needs to be specific to your population,” she said.
Anna says it’s important for employers to view wellness as a long-term investment. But if an organization implements her program, listens to its employees and gives them the resources they need, then she would expect to see a positive impact on the bottom line.
Given the time U.S. employees spend at work, Anna said she believes that wellness programs are simply “the right thing for employers to do.”