With all the talk (and action) about healthy employees being the key to reducing employer health care costs, a conversation has begun about the benefits of holistic wellness programs — those that go beyond a fitness membership to address the well-being of the whole individual.
Traditional wellness programs have focused on things like physical activity and healthy eating. Holistic wellness programs, on the other hand, combine more aspects of employees’ lives to improve total health. Programming might include activities that encourage:
A holistic approach recognizes that wellness touches every aspect of a person’s health. Wellness is what we eat, how much we exercise, and how we take care of chronic conditions. Wellness also is how we budget for health care and how we cope with stress.
With a holistic wellness program, employees have more flexibility to customize their own path to wellness based on what matters most to them.
Employers must recognize that employees’ emotional, social, physical, and fiscal health all are related. For example, if financial challenges stress an employee, her health can suffer, even if the employee eats whole foods and gets regular exercise.
Taking a holistic approach may make wellness programs more attractive to employees. Offering a variety of wellness options that touch on all areas of well-being will drive quality, engaged participation.