Wellness at Work
At Alchemus Prime we focus on fostering authentic leadership as a way to create optimal solutions for the earth’s most pressing challenges, including climate change and lifestyle diseases. Currently we are building strategic alliances to address resource efficiency, wellness, and productivity in the commercial sector.
We work on wellness and climate change simultaneously because they require similar behavior changes, and provide benefits for human health, climate stability, energy efficiency, animal welfare, water efficiency, land conservation, and profitability. Win-wins, if you ever saw any.
Contrary to what you might expect, simply installing wellness programs isn’t effective. In fact, research shows that wellness programs, including those with financial incentives, may not lead to tangible results because they are perceived as yet another task, which may increase, not decrease, stress.
Research also indicates that employees prefer to be happy at work over a higher salary; this is more evidence of the power of intrinsic motivators. Conversly, a harsh boss can lead to heart problems and more sick days for employees, which harms productivity and the triple bottom line.
A more effective approach, according to Stanford researcher, Emma Seppala, is to create a more humane, happy, and positive organizational culture, which is exemplified by an organization’s CEO. She states:
So what leads to employee happiness? A workplace characterized by humanity. An organizational culture characterized by forgiveness, kindness, trust, respect, and inspiration. Hundreds of studies conducted by pioneers of positive organizational psychology, including Jane Dutton and Kim Cameron at the University of Michigan and Adam Grant at the University of Pennsylvania, demonstrate that a culture characterized by a positive work culture leads to improved employee loyalty, engagement, performance, creativity, and productivity. Given that about three-quarters of the U.S. workforce is disengaged at work — and the high cost of employee turnover — it’s about time organizations start paying attention to the data.
- Immediately show empathy e.g. through a personal phone call, when an employee has a crisis, thereby setting an example for positive social relationships, that satisfy employees’ need for connectedness and belonging
- Foster a visible values-based culture, which ends up being more cost-effective than instituting fancy wellness programs
- Maintain a balance between showing humanity and not being “too nice” to ensure that accountability is also visible, and work gets done
This topic is not only close to Alchemus Prime’s work, but to my heart. After working in a variety of settings, including academia, I intuitively felt there was a better system for treating human beings in the workplace. It is affirming to see research clearly indicating that productivity and wellness depend on humanity in our professional environment. We are wired to connect, and will do our best work when we are part of a team that demonstrates, through its leadership, genuine care, appreciation, respect, dignity, and kindness.