Many leaders we work with report the stress of having too much to do and not enough time or resources. When asked about taking vacation or days off to rejuvenate and de-stress many report they feel they will just have more work to do when they get back.

Think about the last time you really felt strongly that, “I need a vacation/day off!” What was your energy level just prior to that thought? How patient were you being with those around you? How creative were you in solving issues? How innovative were you in coming up with new ways of doing things?

How would your perception change if you knew that continuing to work at a frenetic pace without stopping to replenish your resources actually decreases your leadership effectiveness and can negatively impact you and your team’s productivity?Wellness and self-care programs are no longer a ‘nice to have’ or ‘extra perk’. They are an essential leadership development and employee engagement tool that brings hard bottom-line benefits to every organization.

What is the ROI on Wellness Programs?

These are just a few statistics highlighting the actual cost-benefit associated with promoting self-care and wellness:

  • Those companies with a wellness program see an average of 28% reduction in sick days (Institute for Healthcare Consumerism™)
  • Companies report a $2.73 reduction in costs from employee absenteeism for every $1 spent on wellness programs
  • Companies report an average of 30% reduction in workers’ compensation claims
  • 87% of employees said they consider health and wellness offerings before choosing an employer

According to the Harvard Business Review, wellness programs don’t work unless you create a culture in which it is acceptable and encouraged to prioritize self-care. If your team does not see you focused on self-care they will not see it as acceptable for them.

How can you create a Wellness Culture?

Creating a wellness culture does not have to be time consuming or expensive. Here are a few simple ideas to get you started:

  1. Make planning vacations/time off a team discussion. Encourage people to talk about what they are looking forward to and where they are going. Encourage individuals to share what they may be worried about at work while they are gone so the team can support and plan coverage.
  2. Create monthly lunch and learn events on topics like financial planning, meditation, chair yoga, brown bag nutrition. Instead of outside speakers, invite employees to lead these sessions to share their wellness knowledge and passion.
  3. Lead a lunch time walking or running group.
  4. Keep a bowl of fruit and healthy snacks on your desk or in the team common area.
  5. Call an impromptu 1 minute stretch break at random times. You can even instant message this break to your virtual team!
  6. Make wellness and self-care a topic in your 1:1 connects with your team members.
  7. Lead by example! Share your own wins and challenges with self-care!

Authors Susan Steinbrecher and Dr. Joel Bennett in their book, Heart Centred Leadership, emphasize that “mindful leaders realize that self-care and authenticity have a deeply significant impact on the satisfaction and well-being of their workforce and, by extension, the bottom line.”

Last week we celebrated the growth of our company by taking our team for a relaxing and rejuvenating spa day (big thanks to Aroma Day Spa in Hamilton Ontario!). We’d love to hear what you are doing to promote wellness in your workplace, comment below!