Perks are great, but they are detached from the day-to-day.
Often, perks are a way to “shield” managers and executives from the sticky task of creating a healthy, humane, and sustainable day-to-day environment.
“We have a wellness program, what’s your problem?”
What if you have me on so many disparate projects that I don’t have time for your “wellness” program?
There is a need for a deeper conversation about work, what an organization is and its role in our world, how we decide what activities to pursue, and the relationship between customer, employee, and organization.
We have wellness programs – yet the disengagement, burnout, anxiety, and depression statistics are frightening.
We have wellness programs – yet only 1/5 – 2/5 of employees use them, even with incentives and punishments.
I’m not saying that wellness programs are bad. Not at all.
They are a tool in the toolkit and evidence that the organization is at least thinking about the importance of employee health and its importance in achieving organizational goals.
I am just asking for a deeper conversation.
One where we stop talking about workplace wellness as something separate and apart from the work itself.
Much of our issue with workplace wellness is, in my opinion, an issue of prioritization and trying to do too much at once.
Much of our issue with workplace wellness is, in many people’s opinion (most notably Gallup), an issue of management and leadership (or lack thereof).
The wellness programs are helpful.
But if your employees have no time to use your wellness program resources, or, even if they ARE able to use those resources, they work in an environment that doesn’t reinforce their attempts at self-care, the wellness program becomes a shiny, expensive pink elephant.
Harvard Business Review – What Wellness Programs Don’t Do for Workers (Article). This article got me thinking further about the workplace and why working conditions for knowledge workers seem to be deteriorating even though we have tons of research and writing about employee engagement, employee health, and the importance of both for creativity and innovation.
World Health Organization – Stress at Work (Article). When workplace stress and burnout catches the attention of the World Health Organization, you know it’s bad.
Personal Observations on Burnout (Blog Posts) – As you know, this is a topic near and dear to my heart. We can do better.