“According to the World Health Organization, the cost of stress to American businesses is as high as $300 billion,” Arianna Huffington notes. Staggering. What are we doing to our workforce? Or what are we not doing for them?
First, we have to acknowledge where these $300 billion are going. Health care costs to businesses skyrocket when employees don’t feel good. There are five aspects to health: mental, emotional, physical, social, and spiritual. We give our employees a comfortable, safe place to work and often a gym to exercise in…that’s physical. We are opening up the work environment to create spaces for collaboration…social. Spiritual is really not in the realm of companies to address. What are we doing about the emotional and the mental? We’re working our employees to the brink. We expect them to produce, produce, produce. And we want them to be on 24-7. That does not promote mental and emotional wellbeing. What can we do to improve the latter two facets of health?
We can give them a place where they can relax, take a breath and release tension. Dr. Jim Goodnight, SAS CEO, says, “My chief assets drive out the gate everyday. My job is to make sure they come back.” Jim Goodnight and many other powerful CEOs with successful companies, like Google and Apple, believe that as worker satisfaction improves, so does customer satisfaction. They know what to do to support health in their employees and in their bottom line. Creating spaces for stillness where our employees can retreat a few minutes each day can be the difference between happy customers and a healthy bottom line…or not. This is a win-win situation for all.
Designated rooms for calm and quiet is key. We can call them meditation rooms or quiet spaces, but there has to be an area in the workplace where all staff can go to check out. This is one small accommodation that can sow massive benefit.
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