This article is part of High Alpha’s Spotlight series where we regularly sit down with leaders from the High Alpha network to get an inside look into their careers and gather the incredible advice they have to offer.
Incorporating wellness into the fabric of any business benefits both your team and your company’s bottom line. However, wellness means so much more than low provider deductibles and additional health coverage.
We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Mindbody Senior Vice President Kristin Carrico to discuss workplace wellness and what it takes to truly be a wellness-focused organization.
If you’re looking to foster a company culture that encourages longer employee tenure, greater workplace satisfaction, and better business outcomes, then this article is for you.
Tell us a little bit about your background and how you got to Mindbody?
Fitness, health, and wellbeing are vital parts of my life. When I got the opportunity to join Mindbody and lead the Global Customer Experience team, it was a no-brainer. I’ve been a loyal user of the product for years — so I’m a huge fan.
Before joining the Mindbody Team, I’ve had a wide range of experiences from leading successful start-up technology consulting companies to multinational, publicly traded technology companies. I have had the opportunity to work with companies like Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Facebook and eBay during my tenure of leading a Global Consulting Company..
What is the definition of wellness?
When most people think about wellness, it can be easy to think about healthy eating and exercise — but wellness is actually so much more than that. At Mindbody, we break wellness into seven dimensions:
- Physical wellness consists of common fitness activities like nutritious eating, exercise, and movement.
- Intellectual wellness relates to exercising your mind. For example, learning new skills, continuous learning, and spending time thinking about new solutions to challenges.
- Emotional wellness focuses on things like emotional intelligence and mental health.
- Environmental wellness includes your impact on the environment, like conserving our natural resources, recycling, among other things.
- Social wellness is all about spending time with the people you love, being involved in your community, and focusing efforts on creating beneficial connections with others.
- Occupational wellness is related to having fulfillment in your work, working toward something you find interesting, and/or focusing on improving your skills at work.
- Spiritual wellness consists of seeking out your purpose and the meaning of life.
In the corporate world, leaders need to remember that wellness is a blend of all of these different characteristics. These sectors come together to provide balance and harmony between every element of our lives.
Why is creating a workplace focused on wellness so important?
Over my 20+ year career, I’ve been shocked to learn how many companies do not think about wellness beyond standard health benefits. Why? Because the results of wellness-oriented companies speak for themselves. If companies don’t change the way they operate to be more human, they’ll miss out on valuable talent.
Take the “Great Resignation” for example. The corporate world is experiencing a mass exodus of employees quitting their current jobs. While many things could cause someone to leave an organization, quality of life is a high player. In fact, a majority of workers would consider quitting their current position for one at a company that focuses on employee wellness.
People want their employers to think about their lives holistically. Especially after the global pandemic, employees value their quality of life more than a paycheck. Think of things like spending more time with family and friends, feeling supported by our team, focusing on our mental health, and getting outside.
Employees are deeply intertwined with the values of the company and work more productively when they feel supported. It’s a win for both the employee and the employer.
How can employers build a workplace focused on wellness?
While there are many things that I would encourage employers to consider when building a culture focused on wellness, here are four that come top of mind:
Include wellness days instead of sick days
Taking days for your mental health is equally as important as taking time off when you have a cold. When employees feel overworked, overwhelmed, and strung out, taking a sick day comes with a sense of guilt. It’s time we make the shift from providing sick days to providing wellness days. This allows employees to take the time they need when they need it and avoid burnout. By setting this tone at the policy level, you will create a supportive culture that acknowledges the importance of mental health and values your employees above output.
Foster personal connection
Having strong personal connections at work fosters collaboration and comfortability, allowing us to work more efficiently. Even if you’re a fully remote organization, think about activities you can foster strong relationships with one another. For example, providing tools like Zoom and Slack can help achieve the same sort of banter and small talk that occurs around the physical office.
Outside of distributed relationship building, you can host local happy hours, “meet your boss for coffee” days, among other things. Tactics like these will allow employees to bring their full authentic selves to work.
Create time for breaks
At Mindbody, we have enacted a 20 or 50-minute meeting rule. Rather than booking back-to-back 30 or 60-minute meetings, this shortened time frame allows employees an extra ten minutes to grab a coffee, check email, and catch up with colleagues. Not only does this limit multitasking during meetings, but it can also combat burnout.
When possible, I encourage my team to switch a one-on-one Zoom meeting with a walking phone call. This creates an opportunity for my team to get outside and be active. I encourage employers to think outside of the box and come up with opportunities like walking meetings that transform business norms into something that is more wellness-focused.