Corporate Wellness For Pandemic Preparedness
2020 is undeniably a year of turmoil of unprecedented global scale. A vicious pandemic continues to disrupt and erode flow of life at a personal and collective level. It has caused massive disruptions in the way we live, interact and work. Our physical, mental and emotional health, naturally, is being tested in equal measure. Given the unique and long term challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the approach to wellness, including corporate wellness, needs to be addressed afresh to allow better physical, mental and emotional preparedness to face and cope with the new reality which is here to stay. I’ve made a few observations based on the experiences spanning past and current corporate wellness scenarios.
- Typically the focus of corporate wellness programming at large has been disproportionately aligned to address the physical aspect of wellness, with limited focus veering to mental wellness.
- ‘Mental Wellness’ as a concept and need hasn’t been so well or qualitatively understood and delineated, hasn’t occupied centre stage in wellness programming, and has been prone to being offered more in the nature of a stand-alone ‘value add feature’ (with some notable exceptions).
- Many companies tend to demarcate Physical and Mental Wellness interventions as disparate initiatives, and often offer them on different timelines with less than ideal connect to each other.
- Recently the buzzword ‘holistic’ has crept up in wellness dialogues. It seems to have attained loose currency, but with little ground implementation to demonstrate understanding of what the tenet of holistic implies, it hasn’t found its due yet in much programming or execution.
The thing (truth, if you will) with wellness is that even though there are specific activities and practices that can be demarcated under either of the umbrellas of physical and mental wellness, in reality, these are intertwined and symbiotic in nature. Therefore, ‘holistic’ is, by essence, an encompassing concept that exists and operates out of interconnectedness of all constituent pillars of wellness (Physical, Mental, Emotional & Spiritual) working concurrently. The physical and mental states of a person aren’t so independent, existing and behaving distinctly from each other. They are interwoven and inextricably so in cause and effect. Our shifting emotions are further interlaced in this dense fabric, making our wellness a much more inclusive and dynamic concept than the commonly interpreted and practiced paradigm.
“The higher your energy level, the more efficient your body. The more efficient your body, the better you feel, and the more you will use your talent to produce outstanding results.” – Anthony Robbins
So, how can we hope to move beyond the commonly embraced pigeonholed methods of wellness programming and execution?
- All aspects of a wellness program need to be designed and executed synchronously, even if the individual components are being handled by different experts. There needs to be open communication between all involved and a flow ensured in execution, where each rollout (initiative) builds and augments the other pillar in the spectrum to offer a meaningful and holistic solution to the consumer (workforce).
- Like work-from-home, “Wellness-At-Home” solutions will need intelligent designing. Work-from-home for employees has suddenly shrunk the operational/ available space not just for employees but also for the family members. Smaller spaces are a real challenge and programming has to be mindful of it to offer practical solutions. Outdoors may not be a viable option for some time to come and not everything that was being done outside earlier for fitness may be a sensible indoor option. Wellness programs will have to take into account what options/tools are now readily available to the employee to build and/or sustain fitness at home.
- Corporate wellness programming will need to be very cognisant of the changed physical and mental realities – what (all) needs to be addressed, for who all (it would make better and urgent sense to include family members too) and what is available at hand to address all this, without jeopardising safety of all.
- With so much uncertainly about future of jobs and businesses, incomes etc. mental stress is at an all-time high now. It is also constant and pervasive across strata. Social distancing, work-from-home, the lockdown, have all pushed the world to operate virtually. However, there is still need for human contact, connect and guidance. Wellness initiatives that try and work around ways to address this (to the most practical extent possible currently) would certainly score better in raising mental and emotional wellness quotient simultaneously along with the physical.
- It will need to be crafted to be delivered in virtual settings mindful of the time already being spent online by employees in the current scenario
- It needs to deliver a two pronged solution virtually given the social distancing– building and developing fitness (physical, mental and emotional) and augmenting adaptability, given that we are caught in this situation for some time to come.
Wellness is now, more than ever, as much a tool as a deliverable in keeping people engaged, connected and afloat in choppy waters. For a corporate, it’s a powerful and effective helping hand to reach out to their employees. There is a strong case to implement and evaluate wellness measures that will address these challenging times in a more meaningful and empowering manner, while remaining simple and relevant and help the people feel more in charge of themselves in such uncertain times. If these solutions make sense for people in a world that seems to not make any, it will also be worthy of being termed ‘holistic’.
About Vani Pahwa
Vani B. Pahwa is Health & Wellness Evangelist, and Founder, Body In Motion, who specializes in Functional-Fitness, and Cancer Exercise & Rehabilitation. With almost 2 decades of experience, and certifications from leading internationally-accredited and globally-recognized fitness institutions, Vani is the leading Wellness Expert for Multinational Corporations and is a recognized Speaker and Coach. An Indian Classical Dancer, Vani encompasses her learnings from dance to everyday movement making “exercise and training for life, not just events.” To know more about Vani and her premium wellness services, visit https://www.bodyinmotion.in