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A modern perspective on corporate health and wellness

Dr Annemarie Lombard, Founder, Thought Leader, Workshop Facilitator, and Author at Sensory Intelligence Consulting

by Tia

The start of a new year is the perfect time for reflection. Over the holidays, I revisited my participation at a corporate health and wellness conference in 2016. As a speaker then, I explored “The Value of Sensory Intelligence® for Health and Wellness in the Corporate Industry”. Given how rapidly the corporate world has changed, especially factoring in the pandemic and the normalisation of remote working, some of the concepts I discussed can be revisited in today’s context.

Back then, we were astounded to learn that top Fortune 500 companies spent more on health and wellness than their profit. Today, this investment has become the norm as organisations recognise the direct impact of employee well-being on productivity and overall business success. The cost of absenteeism, a significant concern in South Africa then, has now become a global challenge. This has only been exacerbated by the mental health crises following the pandemic years.

The emphasis on health risk assessments, chronic disease management, Employee Assistance  and Programs (EAPs), while still relevant, has shifted towards more holistic and integrated wellness approaches. Today’s corporate wellness programmes encompass mental health support, work-life balance strategies, and digital detox initiatives. These reflect the blurred lines between work and personal life in remote and hybrid working models.

Nutrition, diet, and exercise continue to be pillars of wellness. However, the focus has broadened to include mental wellness practices. These include the likes of mindfulness, meditation, and stress management techniques suited to our digital age.

The concept of Sensory Intelligence® remains more relevant than ever. The synergy between an individual, their environment, and their work has evolved to accommodate remote and hybrid work environments. Employee wellness now also involves creating a conducive home office setting, understanding digital ergonomics, and promoting virtual social interactions to combat isolation.

Sensory self-regulation strategies have adapted to our new normal. Techniques like deep breathing, physical movement, and sensory mindful breaks are not just for the traditional office setting but also home offices and flexible workspaces.

Sensory diets have expanded beyond physical activities to include digital wellness practices. In an era where screen time is at an all-time high, balancing our digital consumption with offline activities is crucial for sensory health.

The role of sensory ergonomics has also evolved. It is no longer just about adjusting physical office spaces but also about optimising our digital workspaces. We must now manage screen lighting and digital clutter and ensure our ergonomic comfort in various work settings.

While the essence of corporate health and wellness remains focused on the holistic well-being of employees, the strategies and approaches have significantly evolved. The responsibility for health and wellness is a shared one, between the employer and the employee. Finally, we must create a culture that not only supports physical and mental wellness but also adapts to the ever-changing work and life dynamics of the modern world.

For more information, go to:  www.sensoryintelligence.com

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