Whole-person health and wellness in the workplace

Posted by Guckenheimer HQ on 11/24/20
Guckenheimer HQ


While difficult to grasp when we are still knee-deep in the COVID-19 quagmire, companies will quickly realize that attracting, engaging and retaining talent remains imperative for long-term, sustainable business success.

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that talent is our most critical asset. Some companies pivoted quickly to emerge from the pandemic stronger, while other organizations hesitated and struggled. 


For companies to reemerge successfully after the pandemic, they need to redesign food programs around whole-person health and wellness. Food programs should help employees reestablish balance in their habits with the objective of whole-person health. The new, broader trusted workplace paradigm emerging from the pandemic sees health, safety and wellness consistently among top priorities for employees to thrive.


Employers that create trusted spaces enable their people to be productive, engaged, collaborative and innovative. Employees will ask: Is the workplace safe? Will being here damage my health? Will going to work negatively impact my well-being? What new cleaning protocols are in place? Will our guests feel safe entering our service and dining spaces?


Food providers can drive wellness and assure guests that the food and space in their workplace meet the highest standards for protecting health and safety. A food program centered on whole-person health can be a critical component of creating trusted spaces.


At least for now, attracting, engaging and retaining talent will be tied to their confidence that the organization will protect their health, safety and well-being. Trust, transparency and confidence will become competitive parameters for talent. A food program centered on whole-person health and wellness can be a critical component of creating trusted spaces for employees to thrive.



While the concept of whole-person health is widely acknowledged as beneficial in health care, most workplaces have been slow to adopt it. Employees spend almost 40% of their waking hours working, giving employers a significant platform for promoting whole-person health and supporting employees as they take a proactive approach to their own health and wellness.


The COVID-19 pandemic has added unseen levels of stress and anxiety. We fear the experience will have a significant long-term impact on mental health. People are concerned about their financial situation and job security, dealing with the stress of working from home alongside children and pets, feeling isolated from colleagues and worried about the possibility of contracting COVID-19.

Traditional workplace health and wellness programs have focused on measurable parameters like body weight, blood pressure and other traditional biometric markers used to gauge overall health. With their more clinical approach, some of these programs may not motivate participants to pursue a meaningful shift in habits. Employees are motivated extrinsically rather than intrinsically.


Rather than focusing on one or two parameters to measure wellness, embracing a whole-person approach is more likely to have a meaningful impact on employees’ long-term health.


While employers and employees are right to be concerned about reopening and reoccupying workplaces, the mental health challenges of remote work, isolation and uncertainty are real. Some employers who previously had nutritious, varied and subsidized or free on-site food programs are seeing pressure from employees to come up with food alternatives for remote work. Employees feel they should have access to some of the workplace perks they had when they were working on site. Redesigning food programs can become part of the mental health challenge.


Where should corporate food providers focus their efforts following COVID-19?

Read more about whole-person health and wellness in the workplace and learn what corporate food providers need to focus on in our new insight, the next normal in food services: part 1 - whole-person health and wellness in a post-COVID-19 world.


Topics: Nutrition (Food), Health & Human Performance (Holistic), guckenheimer, Nutrition, workplace experience

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