The Case for Wellness in Business

You cannot pour from an empty cup.

There came a time in my personal career in business where the physical and emotional costs of my success outweighed the paycheck – my cup was simply empty.  And, I know many other executives and organizations at-large can relate.

Too often organizations spend boatloads of money to hire consultants to fix their operational problems that are causing challenges and undue pressures in their business.  Meanwhile, they spend change on the dollar in comparison towards the actual welfare of their staff – though, some do realize that we need to get beyond bagels and beer as rewards.  Yet in this always-on world we live in, that same staff is left with no time to invest in themselves outside of work either. 

To that end, it’s a perfect representation of the “theory of tacks”: too many companies are simply taking an ibuprofen for the tack their employees are sitting on, rather than addressing the root problem which is the “tack” itself – an over-extended and under-nourished employee which manifests in a under-performing individual, and therefore, an under-performing organization.  This suggested shift in investment – providing tools, education and an active, wellness practice – would better-serve the humans behind the company (who are not robots) to run incrementally better.

Let’s start with the fact that stress is a whole-body experience, and we have plenty of it in both our business and personal lives.  It holds individuals and organizations back from greater levels of operational success and bottom-line growth.  Additionally, the mind-gut connection is real – your gut (negatively affected by stress among other influences) is directly tied to your brain functioning via the vagus nerve, so those in the “ideas business” would be remiss to turn a blind-eye to how our physical health affects their product portfolio and associated profits.

Poor well-being as a result of stress and neglect of our basic human needs affects:

  • Daily health and happiness for employees limiting their ability to bring their best-selves
  • Physical fitness to meet the demands of a business that never sleeps and often goes beyond the walls of the brick-and-mortar location
  • Long-term sustainability

More specifically, signs of chronic stress in your body include: irritability, anxiety, depression, headaches, insomnia, weakened immune system, digestive issues, and back or shoulder pain/tension – any of this seem to resonate with you?

It’s time to reassess our investment spend.  Let’s provide less empty words of theory, and instead, enact more active and engaged wellness in action.  Those of us in marketing and advertising especially know that effective influence is gained through a clear demonstration of results and benefits.  Don’t just tell me what to do, show me.  And as the great Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  It’s time for company leadership to show employees how to feel better if you want both them and your organization to succeed.

So where to begin?  It might start with bringing in real experts in health and wellness to help educate, inspire, and provide effective yet attainable practices into daily life.  It begins with the time and space to allow employees to enact them.  It begins with investment in nutrition and less access to processed, vending machine food, soda and booze as a go-to for those working the hardest.  It begins with access to fitness facilities and, perhaps, gifting movement tracking devices to encourage employees to physically move during the day.  It begins with active encouragement for employees to speak with real mental health experts and learn what may be holding them back emotionally, and how to more effectively communicate and collaborate with others, in and outside of work.  It begins with a culture of authentic purpose, positive support, observation over judgement, and gratitude.  It begins with rest and recovery being encouraged and enforced by leadership, with the understanding that it is a critical physical requirement to mental processing and our body’s physical systems – total depletion is not a badge of honor, it’s a road to destruction.  All these elements of practice are craved by your employees and achievable if promoted and endorsed from the top.

What may be the measure of success?  Here’s what I’ve experienced: I feel better.  I look better.  I’m happier.  I’m more creative.  I’m more present.  I’m more empathetic.  I lift those around me.  I feel more fulfilled than ever.  My significance has transcended my success.  And, in addition to physical benefits, the return on investment has manifested positively in my personal finances as well.  The mutual benefits to both the employee AND the employer, if committed, could have similar potential.

Share this post with your leadership, take the initiative in your own life, and/or lead the charge within your organization.  Let your company’s wellness be the way you win in business.

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Danielle is Founder of The Well-Intended® and an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach that specializes in Executive Wellness.  As a former long-time Senior Executive in the Marketing and Advertising Industry, she’s passionate about improving employees’ quality of life through improved mental and physical well-being and knows first-hand how great an impact it can have both personally and professionally.  If you’d like to learn more about how The Well-Intended can help your organization – be it an inspirational speech, engaging workshop, or 1-on-one leadership coaching – please email danielle@thewellintended.com.

Disclaimer: “The Well-Intended”, and its associated blog and social media pages are owned and operated by The Well-Intended LLC and does not provide medical advice.  The Well-Intended’s author is not a physician or licensed medical expert.  The content provided shares perspective on a personal wellness journey and healthy lifestyle approach practiced by its owner in order to achieve their own health and happiness.  Please consult your physician for advice and/or guidance regarding specific concerns with your own health, vitamins, supplements, fitness plan and/or anything else health- or wellness-related.

Photo credit: iStock.com/anass bachar

Danielle has a degree IN advertising from Michigan State University (Go Green!) and a degree OF sarcasm in life.  Her perfectly imperfect pursuit of wellness is rooted in the research and practice of wellness in efforts to revitalize her mind, body and spirit after 20 years as an executive in the advertising industry and a hobby of collecting home addresses in Detroit, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City and Atlanta. You can reach her on The Well-Intended social channels or at danielle@thewellintended.com.

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