The World Health Organization defines wellness as not just being devoid of any disease or health problem but as a state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing. But when we think of wellness, two things generally come to our minds, i.e., physical and mental health.
Besides trying to improve our mental and physical wellbeing, we rarely pay heed to other aspects such as spiritual and occupational wellbeing. Even most employee wellness programs only tend to focus on addressing the former two aspects and implement ways to improve them.
However, it is crucial to understand that overall wellness is multifaceted and has many interconnected dimensions. And any change in one aspect of wellness can have a ripple effect on all the others, be it good or bad. Thus, we need to make sure that all the aspects of wellness are looked after correctly to achieve overall wellness.
The 9 Dimensions of Wellness
To understand and achieve overall wellness, we must first know all its interconnected dimensions. All in all, there are nine dimensions of wellness -
Physical - Being physically healthy is about taking proper care of our bodies so that we can function optimally. Physically fit people are generally perceived as being healthier than people who are not, and such people make healthier decisions regularly. Physical wellness consists of practicing physical exercise, proper nutrition, getting adequate sleep, and taking part in preventive health screenings.
Mental - Mental or emotional wellness is about the ability to identify, express, and manage our emotions and feelings to cope effectively with life. It is the ability to properly acknowledge and channel our feelings and deal with stress and anxiety. Mental wellness is achieved by practicing cognitive-behavioral skills and mindfulness techniques,
Intellectual - Intellectual wellness is all about having a flexible mind and being willing to engage in lifelong learning. It is about seeking knowledge and partaking in mental activities to improve existing skill sets, foster critical thinking, and heighten global awareness. Being intellectually healthy is essential for keeping our brains healthy and preventing age-related cognitive decline.
Spiritual - Spiritual wellness is the ability to find a greater sense of purpose in our actions and establish peace in our lives. It is about being guided by a firm set of beliefs, values, and principles that bring purpose and meaning to our lives. Spiritual wellness and mental wellness are interrelated and directly impact one another.
Social - Social wellness is about building and developing a sense of connection with friends, family, and co-workers, who act as a support system and share a common purpose. It is about relating to the feelings of others and build relationships based on trust and mutual respect. Social connections help combat stress and depression to facilitate a healthy life.
Environmental - Environmental wellness is the awareness of our environment and the ability to protect ourselves actively from environmental hazards to lead a healthy life. It is about recognizing potential environmental hazards and playing a role in safeguarding our immediate surroundings.
Financial - The acceptance and awareness of one’s current economic state can be termed as financial wellness. Financial wellbeing requires proper analysis and planning of current and future finances. It includes setting short and long term financial goals to achieve realistic goals and become financially successful.
Occupational - Occupational wellness is about being satisfied with our jobs and career paths and finding fulfillment in other aspects of our lives. It is about being involved in work that provides satisfaction and is aligned with our values and goals in life. Occupational wellness requires being involved in work activities that allow demonstration of our skills and pursuing opportunities to reach greater heights professionally.
Cultural - Cultural wellness is the ability to understand and respect our cultural background and the cultural backgrounds of other people as well. It is about acknowledging and appreciating diversity and respecting all people irrespective of religion, gender, race, age, sexual orientation, and so on.
The Importance of understanding the 9 Dimensions of Wellness for Employers
The coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on everyone, affecting all aspects of wellness, be it mental, physical, financial, and so forth. Even after the pandemic is over, we will require lots of time to go back to the normalcy that we once had in our lives.
Corporate employees, for example, will have a certain amount of anxiety and fear regarding commuting to work using public transport and working with other people in confined spaces. Also, many people have lost their jobs due to the pandemic and are suffering from stress, depression, and anxiety.
Such factors have greatly affected the health of corporate employees, and it is the responsibility of employers to do something about it.
Employee wellness is one of the main concerns for organizations as it plays a direct role in productivity and output. To address and improve employee wellness, employers should introduce corporate wellness programs that enable employees to adopt healthy habits and live healthy lifestyles.
Download our Complete Guide to Corporate Wellness Programs to create a successful and effective wellness program in your workplace.
However, it is essential to note that most employee wellness programs are usually centered around activities that improve physical and mental wellbeing, not the other dimensions of overall wellness.
Creating a robust wellness program that focuses on all dimensions of wellness can help organizations create a workforce that is not only healthy physically or mentally, but healthy in all the other aspects as well.
By addressing all the dimensions of wellness, employers will be able to make sure that their employees go back to their optimal efficiency in the shortest time possible. Moreover, by doing so, they will be better able to prepare their employees for any other obstacles that may arise in the future.
Ways Employers can address the 9 Dimensions of Wellness in the workplace
The need for employers to properly understand and improve employee wellness is going to be paramount after the COVID-19 pandemic is over. Therefore, employers need first to understand all the different aspects and adopt methods to address them accordingly.
If you are an employer, here are some great ways to address the 9 dimensions of wellness in your workplace -
- Introduce office fitness challenges among your workforce to keep them engaged and healthy.
- Encourage regular exercise and physical activity such as walking and climbing stairs, etc.
- Properly sanitize your workplace and use disinfectants, sanitizers, and personal protective equipment (PPE) to promote proper hygiene among your employees.
- Promote the benefits of proper nutrition and encourage healthy eating habits among your employees. You can provide healthy snacks and lunches to them as well.
- Introduce cycle-to-work schemes for your employees. Especially encourage employees who travel by public transport to ride cycles to work instead.
- Educate your employees on effective stress-management techniques and encourage them to practice mindfulness.
- Conduct mental-health workshops and training sessions in your workplace.
- Conduct on-site yoga and meditation sessions.
- Use your wellness program to push daily or weekly motivational and inspirational quotes to your employees.
- Invite a psychologist to provide counseling services to your employees suffering from stress and anxiety.
- Talk to your employees or instruct your HR department to do so weekly to find out symptoms of stress or depression.
- Encourage your employees to read books to expand their knowledge on various topics.
- Create a workplace library consisting of books, research articles, and more, providing easy access to valuable information.
- Conduct brainstorming sessions among your employees to facilitate collaboration and team-building. Such activities can help your employees innovate new ideas and learn from each other.
- Provide on-site lessons and workshops on different topics to help your employees improve their skill sets.
- Offer separate rooms where employees can meditate, pray, relax, and so forth.
- Create an indoor or outdoor garden in your office and encourage your employees to maintain it. Gardening can help them relax, unwind, reflect, and restore themselves.
- Determine and set your organization’s purpose for the greater good of the community and make your employees aware of it. Doing so will help your employees find meaning and value in their work.
- Take part in charity events with your employees and help or donate to the poor or needy.
- Create a specific area in your workplace where your employees can unwind, socialize with each other, and have meaningful conversations.
- Go out for a day out at lunch with your employees to facilitate interaction and foster relationships.
- Introduce wellness challenges among your workforce and encourage participation and teamwork.
- Promote and encourage interaction among your employees to help them build new relationships.
- Make sure your workplace has access to natural or artificial lights in all places.
- Ensure that all areas of your workplace are properly sanitized and hygienic.
- Ensure regular maintenance of all office equipment such as ACs, water filters, etc.
- Buy ergonomic chairs, desks, and equipment for your employees to maximize efficiency and productivity.
- Invite a financial advisor to educate your employees on sound financial practices.
- Encourage your employees to plan their finances, save, and control their spending habits.
- Provide employee discount programs to your employees.
- Provide merit-based incentives to improve employee performance.
- Promote good health behaviors and provide rewards and incentives to employees to maintain them.
- Recognize and appreciate your employees based on their performance and achievements.
- Provide health-check ups and biometric screenings in your workplace to make your employees aware of any underlying health problems and ensure optimal health.
- Make your employees aware of or involve them in important work-related decisions.
- Provide flexible policies to your employees, such as remote-working, flexible work hours, paid leaves, etc.
- Introduce policies that foster and facilitate diversity in the workplace.
- Provide diversity training to your employees to help your employees address it.
- Celebrate different holidays and festivals in your workplace and encourage your employees to take part in the festivities.
- Encourage your employees to volunteer in activities and events that cater to the underrepresented segments of the population.
Understanding the nine dimensions of wellness and taking steps to improve them can lead your employees on a journey to overall wellbeing and happiness. Your employees will have a greater sense of satisfaction in life and also be more equipped to tackle any hardship that may come their way during this pandemic or after it.
Do you feel like we missed out on something? Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments below.