Moving Beyond Physical Fitness: Expanding the Definition of Wellness in Corporate Settings

Group of employees talking

Corporate wellness programs have long been synonymous with physical fitness initiatives. From gym memberships to activity challenges and healthy eating campaigns, organizations have prioritized physical health as a cornerstone of employee wellness. While these initiatives are undoubtedly valuable, there is a growing recognition that wellness encompasses far more than just physical health. 

Rethinking Corporate Wellness: The Need to Move Beyond Physical Fitness 

To create thriving workplaces and support employees in leading balanced and fulfilling lives, organizations must move beyond a narrow focus on physical fitness and embrace a more holistic approach to wellness. That means focusing on multidimensional aspects of well-being, including mental, emotional, and social health. 

Mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, and depression are pervasive in today's workforce, and addressing these challenges is critical for supporting employee well-being and productivity. By taking a holistic approach to employee health, corporations can create a supportive work environment that addresses the diverse needs of their workforce. This not only fosters a healthier and happier workforce but also leads to greater overall organizational success.

The Benefits of a Holistic Wellness Approach

Taking a holistic approach to corporate wellness offers numerous benefits for both employees and organizations. For example, by addressing the various dimensions of wellness, organizations can create healthier, happier, and more engaged workforces. In fact, a recent Gallup study found that companies with highly engaged employees saw a 21% boost in profitability and discovered that employees who feel supported in all aspects of their well-being are likely to be more productive, motivated, and resilient in the face of challenges. And finally, investing in employee wellness can lead to reduced absenteeism, lower healthcare costs, and higher levels of employee retention, ultimately benefiting the organization as a whole. 

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8 Strategies for Comprehensive Wellness Programming

Implementing a comprehensive wellness program requires a strategic and multifaceted approach. Consider these strategies for supporting holistic wellness in your organization:

1. Conduct Employee Needs with Health Risk Assessments

Before developing any wellness initiatives, it's essential to understand the specific needs and priorities of your employees. Conduct surveys, focus groups, or interviews to gather insights into the wellness challenges and preferences of your workforce. This information will help you tailor your wellness programs to address the most pressing concerns and interests of your employees.

2. Create a Caring Corporate Culture

Because company culture encompasses the mindset and behaviors of its employees, building an inclusive, engaged, and respectful environment is essential. When hiring, remember that new team members’ compatibility with the company's culture is as important as their project management skills or proficiency in software applications. Potential hires seek out organizations that recognize their humanity and acknowledge the inseparability of personal and professional lives. 

Introducing a comprehensive well-being program demonstrates to potential employees that you value their overall welfare. And since customers tend to favor businesses that prioritize employee welfare, integrating a holistic wellness initiative not only helps you attract new customers but will also boost revenue.

3. Offer a Range of Wellness Activities

A striking 94% of employees indicated that it's very or somewhat important for them to feel a sense of belonging at their workplace. And yet only 20% actually feel that they fit in. With numbers like these, it’s important that your holistic wellness program encompasses a variety of activities and initiatives to accommodate the needs of all employees. 

Consider offering activities such as: 

  • Mindfulness and meditation classes to support mental and emotional health
  • Fitness challenges to promote physical well-being
  • Social events to foster a sense of community and belonging 

Providing a diverse range of wellness activities — for on-site, remote, and hybrid workers — ensures that employees have options that resonate with their individual preferences and interests.


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4. Foster Social Bonds

Despite the shift to remote and hybrid work models in recent years, the social aspect of work remains essential. To enhance social interactions and cultivate a stronger sense of community among employees, aim to promote more opportunities for engagement, whether in-person or through video calls. Establishing a physical break room with comfortable seating and nutritious snacks serves as an excellent avenue for fostering face-to-face socialization. Encouraging employees to chat with one another can also facilitate connections and camaraderie among colleagues, even in virtual settings. 

5. Provide Resources and Support

In addition to offering wellness activities, employees need resources and support to help them independently manage their well-being. Consider giving them access to mental health resources such as counseling services or employee assistance programs, educational materials on topics such as stress management and resilience, and tools to support work-life balance, such as flexible work arrangements and parental leave policies.

6. Make Sure Leaders Model Healthy Behaviors

Creating a culture of wellness requires more than just offering wellness programs — it requires a commitment from leadership to prioritize employee well-being and create an environment where wellness is valued and supported. That’s why it’s important for leaders to model healthy behaviors, promote open communication about wellness issues, and provide opportunities for employees to participate in decision making about wellness initiatives.

7. Maintain a Diverse Workforce

Inclusive and diverse initiatives play a vital role in comprehensive wellness programs. And for individuals belonging to underrepresented ethnic or cultural groups, a lack of representation can hinder their sense of empowerment and belonging. 

However, organizations that prioritize diversity and actively involve employees from various backgrounds in significant business decisions often experience greater success. Try to broaden the focus beyond race. Doing so can ensure that employees from diverse ethnicities, religious beliefs, sexual orientations, and physical abilities feel like they are a part of an inclusive workplace culture.

8. Measure and Evaluate Impact

Finally, it's important to measure and evaluate the impact of your wellness programs to ensure they are meeting the needs of your employees and achieving their intended outcomes. To gauge the effectiveness of your wellness initiatives, track metrics such as participation rates, employee engagement scores, and health outcomes. Use this data to make informed decisions about program improvements and adjustments to better support employee well-being over time.

Implementing a Wellness Program

Although 80% of companies try to support their employees’ emotional and physical well-being, a mere 46% of employees feel they receive the support they need. Why? Because there’s often a disconnect between implementing processes and addressing the needs of the workforce. 

However, when you incorporate a wellness program, you can accommodate your employees and extend wellness beyond just physical fitness. CoreHealth’s holistic platform makes it easy to infuse wellness into your corporate work environment. With our platform, you can improve your employees’ wellness so they can bring their best selves to work. 

Curious to learn how? Schedule a demo with one of our technology experts today!

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