Workplace Wellness – We need a culture shift!


India’s corporate community today, with its round the clock action, deadline pressures, competitive environment, physically and mentally strenuous schedules is dealing with a workforce that is struggling with various lifestyle and stress related illnesses like heart disease, blood pressure, diabetes, spondilytis apart from problems like chronic fatigue; eye strain; neck, shoulder and back pains; sleep disorders; and other problems like depression and family discord.

Stress, aches, pains, diseases and discord inevitably lead to reduced enthusiasm at work, shorter attention spans or inability to focus, and of course increased absenteeism. All this impacts productivity hugely. On the other hand working with physical or mental discomfort also causes impatience and intolerance which inevitably gives rise to emotional outbursts, a lower threshold for loosing temper and increased conflicts. This leads to an “unhealthy” work culture, (pun intended).

Anyone who would have worked with people who are not well but still feel compelled to come to work; or was himself or herself at work with a head ache or a stomach ache or a back ache, should be able to relate to this phenomenon and its impact as well.

Ask around yourself anyday, that how many people around have suffered from a headache, eye strain, neck/shoulder ache, back ache, stomach ache or a joint ache in the past 1 week. What do you think the answer would be…?

As per a very recent survey conducted by ASSOCHAM nearly 85% of employees in private sectors are afflicted to life-style, chronic diseases and acute ailment. ASSOCHAM’S survey reveals that 42% identified themselves are afflicted to lifestyle disease, followed by 38% suffering from chronic disease and remaining 15% have an acute ailment in the private sector. (http://www.assocham.org/prels/shownews.php?id=3957)

Which means, nearly everyone today is working at less than their best. The existing levels of impatience and intolerance and instances of flaring tempers and workplace conflicts is a natural consequence.

Just imagine what kind of work output and work culture would be possible if only a decent majority of the staff were just healthy and fit?

A perceptible change has consequently taken place in the way employee fitness is being perceived in the past couple of years, as the pronounced need to keep employees’ fit is being increasingly realized by the corporates.

Many companies have started measures like opening gymnasiums, conducting sports tournaments, having active away days, townhalls and employee engagement activities. However the most common challenges that most of these companies are facing remain:

  • High costs
  • Low participation levels
  • Loss of productive time
  • Gives only temporary relief
  • The aches, pains, disease and discord continues

While it is great that action has started in the right direction, but it is very important to study, research, plan and implement measures that work at changing people’s habits. Measures that interweave physical activity and wellness into everything that we do, such that it becomes impossible, not to participate; and ends up making a habit of “Active Living”; and also does not require huge additional monetary or time investments.

EnterActivity is the core programme within the WORKPLACE WELLNESS AND INTEGRATED LEARNING offer of PROGILENCE. It is aimed at creating a new way of working and living. Central to the philosophy of this programme is the belief that there is always a healthier way to do work, structure workplaces and practices. The programme focuses on embedding lifestyle changes such as physical activity, fun, active work space reorientation and improved food habits and choices in the day-to-day work life with minimum disruptions.

Authored by Jassi Dimple

 


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