Note: If you read last week’s post, you were likely expecting to dive into the area of “career well-being,” and that’s indeed what we intended to discuss this week. However, after some really helpful feedback from a couple of dedicated readers, we decided that it may be well-worth the space to address the notion that “wellness” and “well-being” may be interpreted as two separate things in today’s workplace speak. We thought it worthy of another “go ‘round” this week…
When workplace wellness programs began decades ago, the founding fathers and mothers of those programs had visions that wellness efforts would be holistic — taking into account employees’ minds, bodies, and spirits.
Some companies stayed true to these three tenets; however, many other organizations narrowed workplace wellness to physical health, maybe with a little stress reduction thrown in here and there for good measure. These programs focused on making sure employees ate right, exercised enough, and had the recommended health screenings at the right times to keep their bodies in tip-top shape.
Wellness, it seems, became more of a numbers game, where players had scorecards to keep track of measurable stuff. You know, make sure you have X number of servings of this per day, try to get X minutes of this type of physical activity per week and don’t forget to keep your cholesterol and blood pressure below X. You can imagine how employees might get turned off by all this.
All this measuring and counting and weighing and timing started to be the definition of wellness. The original meaning kinda got lost in all those measurements, standards and guidelines. Wellness ambassadors became desperate to steer organizations back to the idea that people need more to be happy, fulfilled and satisfied in work and life than simply hitting the physical numbers. People need to be connected to others; they need balance (career, social, financial, physical and community). Those things cannot really be measured with numbers, and they are equally important in the workplace and life. Enter the term well-being.
Be sure to check back next week, when we delve into the various aspects of well-being, starting with career.