Why Well-Being Matters: A Panel Discussion

by the Media Planet Staff

We polled three experts on the state of company wellness programs, and how they are handling the challenges we face as employees managing our own health inside and outside the office.

Mediaplanet: Do you think that it is important for employers to encourage their employees to take a more active role in their well-being?

Jan Bruce: Command and control is out. The strategy today is to take care of your employees and they’ll take care of your business. Inherent in this idea is to encourage people to take a more active role in their well-being. What’s really significant is the profound impact that emotional well-being–stress management, resilience and mindfulness can have on employee productivity, capacity and motivation. People are working harder, working longer and, are often actually doing more jobs as technology enables us to complete more tasks. It’s really important to recharge. We recharge our cell phones each night. Let’s recharge ourselves as well.

MP: What do you feel to be one of the biggest problems facing the health care industry today?

JB: The biggest issue facing health care industry today is turning from insuring the cost of people being ill to being an active partner in keeping people well. Health care companies don’t do a lot for healthy people. There are elaborate systems set up for the expensive, chronically sick people. It’s imperative to find ways to keep the healthy people from becoming the next wave of costly illness. The constant juggling act—the effort to manage the competing demands of work and life—prevents people from making the best choices for their long term health.

MP: What is one industry trend that is helping to combat that problem?

JB: Resilience. Helping people cope and be more engaged and self-aware. Emotional well-being has conventionally been seen as the domain of crisis based solutions: employee assistance programs, counseling, hotlines. But demands on today’s workforce require that we be more proactive. Resilience needs to work hand in hand with diet and exercise so that people are able to self-manage, better able to make (and hold onto) the practical, healthy changes that would make a positive difference. Resilience is the first line of defense.

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