At 4 Point Consulting (4 Point), one of our central beliefs is that people are the core of every business. That is why we take a comprehensive approach to wellness. Christy Hopkins, the Founder and CEO of 4 Point, incorporates wellness into the everyday life of her team members. This should come as no surprise given her background. Over the course of her career, Christy realized she wanted to merge her love of business with her love of helping and supporting people. Lucky for her employees and clients, this love does not exclude them.
4 Point recognizes the demands of the consulting lifestyle and the challenge employees can face to strike a balance between life and work. This is why she began to incorporate wellness and team building exercises during the tail end of 2017. But what does Christy do to foster a culture of collaboration, teamwork, and cohesiveness amongst our group of remote workers? Let’s take a look at the support she offers our team.
Our wellness initiative follows a holistic view that respects all areas of employee life. So far, we have enjoyed a variety of team building activities that reduce stress, promote mindfulness, and build resilience. These activities include hosted lunches, off-site socials, yoga, pilates, boxing, interval training classes, and barre workouts. And if you think it ends there, we have news for you! Each employee’s compensation package includes wellness reimbursement to help lead a healthy lifestyle. All of these initiatives result in employees feeling truly cared for and translates into the quality of our service. But enough about us! How can you nurture wellness to support your employees? Let’s first talk about what wellness is and how team building can help your organization.
WELLNESS PROGRAMS & TEAM BUILDING
Multiple organizations have followed the trend of offering team building activities and implementing wellness programs. In fact, according to a survey administered by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), approximately 25% of companies increased their wellness benefits between the years of 2006 and 2017. In this article, we will provide insight on what you need to know about wellness and team building to improve your organization:
- What is wellness and team building?
- How can wellness programs and team building improve the life of your employees?
- What kind of activities can promote wellness?
- How can you incorporate wellness into your organization?
WHAT IS WELLNESS?
The term wellness not only refers to the absence of illness. It also refers to maintaining your body in good condition, with proactive and preventive measures. With this in mind, organizations have been taking wellness to a higher level by adopting a more holistic view that treats the employee as a whole person. This all encompassing wellness approach considers the physical, social, mental, and emotional needs of employees and provides support so they can overcome and/or prevent issues related to the four aforementioned needs.
The degree to which wellness is integrated into employees’ day-to-day life varies across organizations, and so do their benefits. On an organizational level, these benefits include increased productivity, lower healthcare costs, and higher retention. However, in this article we are going to shift our focus to explore how employees and teams benefit from wellness programs. Wellness programs are intended to improve the health of the workforce by helping employees perform at their peak as individual contributors and as members of a team, and one way to do that is through team building exercises.
WHAT IS TEAM BUILDING?
Team building has become a hot topic in recent years and for good reasons. The success of most organizations depends on their ability to build effective teams. Team building activities are a great way to provide realistic experiences that empower employees to contribute to common goals. Programs or activities that foster team-building provide an upbeat and powerful team experiences that allow companies to compete effectively by enabling their employees at all levels to work as true team players.
The main goals of team building are to improve productivity and motivation. Structured exercises, especially when done outside of the workplace, help break down political and personal barriers, eliminate distractions, and not only encourage individual development but also brings all members together for a common goal.
Team building exercises are important not for the immediate experience of the activities performed by the team, but also for the group skills, communication, and bonding that result from them. Team building exercises work to boost a company’s bottom line, reform a company’s culture, and also have many wellness benefits for individual employees.
HOW CAN WELLNESS PROGRAMS AND TEAM BUILDING IMPROVE THE LIFE OF YOUR EMPLOYEES?
Team building and wellness programs can improve the lives of employees in the following four areas: physical, social, emotional, and mental.
Referring to things that are of nature or the body, physical wellness:
- Allows employees to release and manage their stress.
- Instills healthy habits to create a better lifestyle.
- Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol.
Having to do with employees working together as a group, social wellness:
- Encourages communication by breaks down communication barriers.
- Allows employees to develop and discover their strengths.
- Increases collaboration.
- Gives employees the ability to draw on and develop team process skills to complete group-oriented tasks successfully.
- Mitigates conflict.
When it comes to employees’ internal state of being and involuntary physiological responses, emotional wellness:
- Builds organizational trust.
- Fosters engagement.
Related to employees’ ability to cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively and fruitfully, and make contributions to the workplace, mental wellness:
- Gives employees time and tools to develop skills.
- Promotes creativity.
- Encourages mission focused behaviors.
WHAT KIND OF ACTIVITIES CAN PROMOTE WELLNESS?
Provide opportunities for your employees to try running, yoga, pilates, boxing, barre,…you name it! Choose something unique and slightly outside of people’s comfort zones can encourage teams to come together in new ways.
Host an on-site or off-site lunch for your work team, department, or the entire company. This can give coworkers the chance to unwind and get to know each other outside of the work environment.
Professional development activities.
Create opportunities for development where employees can share their learning experiences and have the opportunity to discuss their newly acquired knowledge and skills, and how these can be applied at work. Taking employees to an off-site training workshop or conference fosters learning and provides an opportunity for employees to interact.
Encourage employees to form clubs, such as a book, article, or podcast club. Employees can take turns leading discussions about articles, chapters, or podcast episodes, the implications of what they are learning, and how it applies to the company and their work. This can encourage cross-departmental interaction and allow employees to share different viewpoints and gain a better understanding of each department’s contribution to the company’s overall goal.
Pay it forward by having a volunteer day or afternoon once a quarter. This gives employees the opportunity to give back and learn about the community they are in and how to serve them. Companies can also partner with a local charity or nonprofit organization and generate volunteering opportunities internally by offering resume building workshops, tech courses, or various other activities.
HOW CAN YOU INCORPORATE WELLNESS INTO YOUR ORGANIZATION?
Ask employees what they want.
Survey employees to learn about their interests in health promotion and related activities. Involving them in this process can increase participation and the sustainability of the program.
Make it convenient, practical, and accessible.
It is important that wellness facilities and activities are readily accessible. You and the company leaders should encourage employees to take a break during the day, use the gym, go for a walk, or attend a yoga class.
Integrate wellness into the company structure by leading from the top.
Make sure to have buy-in from the top before launching your program and have management lead by example during the program. Provide training for managers on new wellness initiatives so they can best understand and communicate them.
Make the program a key focus by incentivizing employees.
Advertise the benefits constantly to make the program a part of your corporate culture and provide ongoing incentives for employees to care about becoming healthier. This could be a small monetary incentive, a raffle for a fitness tracker or gym pass, a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) membership, etc.
Invest in the program.
While companies do not have to spend an excessive amount on trips or experiences, they should not skimp either. Some low cost ideas include offering flexible work arrangements, coordinating volunteering days, and arranging group socials.
The Final Word
In all, team building activities and wellness programs can maximize profitability by allowing employees to better combine their skills to achieve more, meet cross-functional challenges, and be able to respond quicker to rapid change. Implementing a wellness program and having regular team building activities will instill a greater sense of involvement and belonging in your employee population. It will also empower teams to become more mission focused and achieve more with less direction. By investing in your employees, you will make your organization a place where they want to be, saving time and money.
We encourage you to follow these tips to transform and engage your organization. Work towards sustaining them and you will see the results!
Be on the lookout for Glamour Magazine’s April issue to find an article on mental health in the workplace by 4 Point’s Founder and CEO, Christy Hopkins!