3 Reasons Why Wellness in the Workplace is a Sham

Hi, I’m Jenny, self-care coach and customer service/CX leader.

And, these are my top 3 reasons that I believe can make wellness in the workplace a total sham.

Sham #1: Someone else thinks they know what’s good for you

That weight loss contest at work doesn’t apply to everyone, especially the employee struggling with an eating disorder. The “healthy” snacks in the break room may end up being food no one eats, leading to money and food waste. The team member you want to stop smoking isn’t going to kick the habit overnight, even if you ask nicely with a gold star reward program. When companies take employee wellness into their hands, they are often clueless about what their team actually needs. They dive into ways to enhance the wellbeing of the employee without asking the employees themselves. It’s time to ask the employees what they actually want and need. Active listening takes priority. Not sure where to start? Here one great resource¬†and here’s another.

Sham #2: Leaders talk the talk but do not walk the walk

Your boss tells you that if you’re sick, work from home. But, if your boss is sick, they still come to the office and then work extra hours. Your boss tells you to take your vacation time. Your boss never uses vacation time and often is found sleeping at the office. Maybe your boss is an overachiever but at the end of the day, if the boss isn’t following through on what they are telling you, why the heck would you feel empowered to work from home or take vacation time? But, you can’t blame this all on your boss. Everyone, even those folks without a “boss” title can impact the culture this way. Best bet, before you bring this up with your boss, take a look at your own “talking and walking” to make sure you’re practicing what you preach. It’s not just about the words on the break room wall. Read When Culture Walks the Talk by Dr. Debra Bentson.

Sham #3: Fighting stress and burnout

We’re taught stress-busting tools to steer clear of burnout. The more we dance around it, the more we’re missing the whole point: when things are all hunky dory, we settle for what we have. We may miss growth opportunities. We may settle into non-supportive, inspiring or engaging roles. When we reach a point of flat-out-burnout, it’s our bodies telling us “HEY WAKE UP THIS MIGHT NOT BE WORKING.” It’s not a sign that we’re weak or that we’ve failed. It’s often just a time to realize what’s actually happening and make a shift. Burnout may also be an individual or team response to empathy fatigue from giving too much to customers. Read Why Burnout Isn’t Always Bad (and How to Use it to Grow) by Nate Klemp and How to Help Your Team Cope with Empathy Fatigue by Jeff Toister.


What else would you add to this list that makes your company wellness program a sham? Share with me in the comments or over on Twitter.



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