Wellness in the Work Place
With the current 24/7 lifestyle, bombardment of technology and Social Media and the constant GO GO GO; our bodies and minds are in constant "fight or flight mode"and we have forgotten how to "just be". Over the last few decades people have become so accustomed to high levels of stress that most individuals do not consider the demands to be out of the ordinary. This can be a dangerous viewpoint as prolonged stress can be both detrimental to body and mind. So what can we do about regaining some very important "me time" when there are too few hours in the day? Thankfully, the face of the corporate workplace is changing and Companies have acknowledged that STRESS plays a large part in our day to day lives and this can adversely affect employee performance. Internationally, companies have reported that the productivity of their employees increased when they introduced Corporate Wellness Programmes with Spa treatments either off site or at the office showing excellent results. Employee Wellness has also become a focus by many Top Companies in South Africa with Unilever, Derivco, Auto & Genera, Vodacom and Nedbank to name a few, embracing the trend with on-site Wellness and Leisure facilities and Spa Incentives playing a large part in the Employee Wellness Programmes. But what is Corporate Wellness? Corporate Wellness is a focused approach by companies to enhance the well-being of its employees effectively reducing stress, encouraging staff loyalty, improving morale and reducing absenteeism and high staff turn-over. So really, a WIN WIN situation for both employer and employee. The International Spa Association acknowledges that sending employees to a spa is no longer considered to be extravagant but actually supportive and helpful in relieving stress ensuring better work performance. 33% of people going to a spa, do so as part of a company conference, incentive or team build (International Spa Association 2009). Sounds great, but what about costs? Whilst many of us dream of "spending a day at the Spa", work-load, deadlines, limited time and budgetary constraints often do not allow for valuable team members to be out of the office for extended periods of time and thus essential wellness can be compromised. Numerous Spa's including Mowana Spa (Spa Nouvelle Finalist 2014), Healing Hands, Just Haven and Mangwanani African Day Spa to name a few have introduced a "Spa on the Move" concept where they are able to bring "WELLNESS TO YOU" by incorporating relaxing Massage Techniques into shorter time periods in the comfort of your office environment. Relaxation Zones are set up in an area of your choice and mini massages are offered. These can include Head, Neck & Shoulder Massages, Foot Massages and Hand Massages to target work stressed muscles to ensure relaxation and an over-all sense of well-being. This "Spa on the Move" trend means that Wellness & Relaxation is accessible to all. Spa Days are also being embraced by forward thinking Companies as Team Build Options with more and more Teams preferring the tranquillity of a Spa Pamper to the more traditional Survivor type Teambuilding activities which, if not facilitated correctly, can lead to discourse within the team. Spa Days level the playing field with everyone from Company MD's and Senior Management to Junior Employees immediately donning a gown on arrival which immediately breaks the ice and makes the "Ivory Tower" more approachable. Numerous Wellness Studies have shown that spending a day together relaxing ensures a better understanding within teams and team members often find common interests which they did not know they had (children, sports, holidays, pets etc) which they take back into the workplace — this is usually a positive experience as team members often become more tolerant of differences. Spa Days also ensure quiet time, which allows for thought clarity and creative problem solving — many an executive has returned from a spa day energised and more capable of finding solutions to complex problems which arise in the workplace. Wellness at the workplace is certainly not limited to Spa Pampers (although these are by far most popular) and can include Quiet Areas or "Chill Zones", Health Bars, Yoga Retreats, Gym facilities at work or complimentary Gym membership at popular health clubs, Hair Salons on premises, Dieticians and Medical Care Providers on premises (or contracted in for Wellness Days) and a favourite "shop" where employees are able to purchase items at a discounted rate — this concept works especially well at companies like Nike, Edcon and Unilever with many employees enjoying this benefit. Wellness in the Workplace is no longer an exception, but is fast becoming a norm with many companies and employees benefiting from this trend as we understand that a 24/7 lifestyle is simply not sustainable and finding "me time" whether it be a spa pamper, a gym work-out or simply taking a book to the bottom of your garden to indulge — quiet time is very important to overall wellness.