What is wellness? For an individual, it is being in a state of good mental and physical health. For a business, it is a bit more difficult to define. Often, when we speak about corporate wellness, the focus becomes the physical health of employees. A 2013 Forbes article covering “Five Reasons Corporate Wellness Is More Important Than Ever” focused exclusively on combating rising health care costs through improving physical fitness and addressing chronic disease prevention.
Yet a business’s wellbeing extends beyond the health of those working there. To be in good physical health, like a person, a business must take care of itself. It must treat its employees well and it must turn a profit so as to ensure its longevity. To be in good mental health, like a person, a business must act ethically, in ways that demonstrate a commitment to a set of values that both it, and the community in which it operates, consider right and good.
One way to think of business wellness is in terms of the Triple Bottom Line, a tripartite focus on people, planet, and profits. In this sense, corporate wellness means ensuring that its business practices attend to:
- People: Fair labor practices and supporting the community
- Planet: Sustainable environmental practices that limit environmental impact
- Profit: Financially viable operations that ensure the long-term sustainability of the company
In this sense, programs aimed at business wellness would span the gamut from the more traditional corporate fitness programs, to philanthropy and volunteerism, to limiting energy consumption, to changing production to align with consumer demand.
How is wellness defined where you work?