Reinvent diversity and inclusion through wellness
For diversity and inclusion to truly become integral part of an organization, it must be integrated into everything a company does and corporate wellness programs are a great step towards that.
Before COIVD struck the concept of wellbeing was limited to physical health — nutrition, exercise, weight management, here also we were not focusing on most important element; sleep.
For me, there is so much more to wellness. It is a holistic concept which involves fuelling the body, engaging the mind, and nurturing the spirit and I look at 8 dimensions of wellness.
- Physical wellness comprises of physical activity, healthy nutrition, and adequate sleep.
- Emotional wellness is about building meaningful relationships and coping with life stressors. It is also involves having high emotional intelligence, ability to work through life challenges and resilience. Self-respect is an important part of emotional wellness and organization can create environment where the focus is not only on diversity but inclusion as well.
- Social wellness is a sense of bonding with others. Remember that water cooler chit chat that is being missed the most. For many, it is extremely refreshing since it gives a sense of connectedness and belonging.
- Intellectual wellness is awareness and utilization of our knowledge and skills. In order to achieve intellectual wellness, we look for activities that are stimulating for us. As we know physical and mental exercise leads to building new neurons and new learning pathways
- Environmental wellness is about our surroundings. I remember my hostel days when thought of entering my room would give me chills since my roommate was most disorganized person I had ever seen. The thought of staying with her used to make me sick and it that’s how environmental wellness impacts our overall wellbeing.
- Spiritual wellness is related to our values beliefs purpose and meaning in our life. To cultivate my spiritual wellness, I rely on meditation, self-reflection, volunteering initiatives etc. This requires ME time which is a luxury for many professionals especially women since they manage double the responsibilities.
- Occupational wellness all about our work. It involves balancing work and life, sense of respect and camaraderie with colleagues. Occupational wellness is very much connected with financial one. Your work should be both rewarding and generate enough money to manage your financial wellbeing.
- Financial wellness is having control over worries pertaining to financial situation. During peak of COVID, we witnessed many senior professionals being worried about finances since they were not having surplus even for 3 months. This is one of the biggest stressors for many especially women. It is because of lack of awareness, lack of control due to cultural issues and many a times lesser stability in career since they are primary care providers at home.
Significant evidence exists supporting the link between wellbeing at work and productivity – with wellbeing including not only physical health but many other aspects of wellbeing.
Organizations are now committed to diversity and this should be corelated with equity and inclusion. Metaphorically speaking getting invited to party is not enough, you must feel welcome to dance. One way to test would be encouragement to share your thoughts in group conversations.
If the workplace is not inclusive it impacts emotional, social, environmental wellbeing of diverse workforce negatively and the impact can be devastating for both individuals and organization. “Your brain at positive is 31% more productive than your brain at negative, neutral or stressed.”’ Shawn Achor, author of ‘The Happiness Advantage’
A program from University of Brighton, University of Hertfordshire, 3 Do Something Different Ltd, UK. data from 1,153 working age employees.
Relationships between four variables – inclusiveness, wellbeing, behavioural flexibility and openness to change – measured during a six–week workplace Do Something Different programme completed in a global organisation.
Results showed that wellbeing and openness to change are strongly linked to diversity and inclusiveness behaviours – the more inclusive a person is, the better their wellbeing, and the more open they are to change, including change in the workplace.
Here is the connect between wellbeing and inclusion as per this research: • Inclusive workplaces improve employee well-being;
• Unique needs of different employees to be considered if you want an effective well-being initiative
• Wellbeing and Mental health must be part of diversity and inclusion programs since these are diversity and inclusion matters
Inclusiveness is associated with wellbeing and openness to change
Employment practices, work culture, environment should be evaluated to understand the inclusivity or lack of it since it has direct linkage with wellbeing.
To build a healthy, resilient organizations must work harder on diversity, equity, and inclusion practices.
Organizations have started taking steps toward better diversity, equity, and inclusion, yet many a times, different minorities basis economic status, caste, region, race, sexual orientation, gender, caste, feel unwelcome and the workplace does not become inclusive. The minorities find it difficult to navigate these challenges pertaining to work environment which impacts their wellbeing negatively.
These experiences are indicators of not so inclusive work environment that demeans Inclusion efforts. Repeated exposure to such negative experiences at workplace, leads to physical and emotional scar.
An Inclusive workplace is considerate about valid expectations of deviations on work schedules to support its people. They also support employees through wellness programs and external experts e.g. EAP programs.
Organizations should reinvent diversity and inclusive through employee well-being. It will positively impact employee self-esteem, make them feel values and respected, make them feel fulfilled and help them unleash their potential. It will also improve work-life balance, belonging and people will be able to achieve fulfilment through career. This has got many upsides for organizations as well.