By Cerise Marcela, Associate + Workplace Strategist, Gensler
Editor’s note: Cerise Marcela is a Think Tank member for the Boston and San Francisco Workplace Innovation Summits on October 27th and November 17th.
Being a Millennial, I can honestly admit that I am constantly reminded to embrace a more balanced lifestyle – especially in the past five years. Gone are the days when I impatiently wait for my annual health screening to know the state of my being – a steady stream of of data emanates from my body, pulsing at my wrist, or blinking on my phone – and now this information is now accessible at our fingertips (and compartmentalized in clever ways via apps) – thanks to this mighty watch tracker.
Not only I am now hyper-aware of how many steps I have taken today, but also how much time I spent sitting, or if I take enough deep breaths to de-stress. An equilibrium between living a healthy life, being in tune with our surroundings, and having a purpose in everything we do, is paramount in for living a meaningful life.
The Gallup Well-being Index defines quality of life through five key elements: sense of purpose, social relationships, financial security, relationship with the community, and physical health (Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index, 2016). This new holistic health and well-being view is anchored in a belief where individual well-being lies within the balance between these five key elements.
Known as the most health-conscious generation with strong sentiments on health, the Millennials are ahead of the curve in assessing how their food is produced, with an emphasis on sustainable, local, holistic farming and sourcing. This younger workforce cares about what they consume and do on daily basis – those who opted for locally-produced fermented kombucha in lieu of sugar-laden caffeinated beverages – or increasing demand for alternative fitness like yoga, barre, pilates, to address physical and mental aspects of well-being.
We are now at a momentous turning point in which new holistic goals of well-being, such as mindfulness, and mental health, are now more widely recognized by society as means for encouraging a healthier, more productive workforce.
We are now at a momentous turning point in which new holistic goals of well-being, such as mindfulness, and mental health, are now more widely recognized by society as means for encouraging a healthier, more productive workforce. Organizations have taken notice and have sought ways to improve employees’ well-being through fitness offerings, healthy food campaigns, mindfulness programs, etc.
One example of a commitment to health and wellness is Reebok headquarters who decided to kick off a “See Ya Soda” initiative that essentially banned all sugary sodas, candy bars, and other not-so-healthy foods, and began replacing cafeteria snacks with nuts, fruits, and vegetables. Additionally, the company had also encouraged workers to spend one hour of their work day to exercise and ensured such activities are conveniently-accessible to all employees.
With these new productivity goals in mind, it is easy to copy what worked for others and adapt it to your organization. However, a borrowed approach may not necessarily speak to your organizational culture and your people. It is important to define your collective organization’s culture and take a bold stance in curating a work experience that would address these well-being elements in a way that is authentic to your organization.
How would the workplace give one a sense of purpose, enable social relationships, address financial security, enhance a sense of community, and most importantly, build a physically healthy workforce? How would your culture be expressed in your approach in supporting a seemingly-simplistic workplace cause? The answer may not be as simple as knowing the right ingredients, but instead will take constant experimenting and an iterative and evolutionary process.
Interested in this topic? Join us at the Workplace Innovation Summit for more in-depth discussions about creating a balanced workplace that is unique to your organization.