Understanding each of the 8 Axes of Wellness can help you cultivate a workplace full of happy and healthy employees who value and prioritize their health, wellness, and overall well-being.
The dimensions of wellness break down health into eight different aspects: emotional, financial, environmental, social, spiritual, occupational, physical, and intellectual – each of which contributes to your general wellness and therefore require regular intentional decision-making.
Here's how you can use the eight axes of wellness to create a healthier workplace.
Axis 1: Emotional Health, Wellness & Well-Being
Our emotions are the lens through which we experience every other aspect of our lives. Therefore, if your employees aren't emotionally healthy, that will affect their ability to maximize their health on each of the other axes of wellness.
More than 300 million people are affected by depression every year, so the odds are that an employee in your business is struggling with his or her emotional health.
An effective leader can do wonders for the emotional health of a workplace by communicating positivity and encouragement to employees.
Axis 2: Financial Health
Money is the primary cause of stress in many professionals' lives. Northwestern Mutual’s 2018 Planning & Progress Study showed that money is the number one source of stress among the adults surveyed.
Money provides security. Therefore, if employees feel that they have a secure financial future, they'll be much happier and healthier workers.
Making financial resources available to your employees can positively improve their financial health. Presenting information about topics like tax preparation or personal finance in a newsletter or through quarterly seminars could help employees feel more comfortable with their finances.
Companies like Financial Gym help individuals learn about managing money and getting out of debt – adulting skills that aren't often taught in high school or college. Since many employees are working to pay off student loan debt, connecting your staff to resources like Future Fuel can show them you understand their challenges and are eager to help them lead more financially stress-free lives.
Axis 3: Environmental Enrichment
Whether you use the techniques of feng shui or you simply want to create a beautiful work environment, the physical workspace of your company can significantly impact your employees' productivity as well as their emotional health.
According to the University of Toronto, "Evidence shows that on sunny days, people are more optimistic about the stock market, report higher well-being, and are more helpful."
If employees sit in a dark, gloomy office, with no light, you risk the potential of decreasing their optimism and helpfulness.
While productivity doesn't depend on whether the sun is shining or not, adding more light, openness, and stimulating colors to your workspace can improve the energy in your office.
Axis 4: Social Health
Harboring a sense of community in the workplace can provide your employees with a sense of peace and strengthen their overall social health.
According to Harvard Medical School, "strong social ties have been associated with a lower risk of dementia, as well as lower blood pressure and longer life expectancy."
Encouraging your employees to form relationships with each other can improve productivity, communication, and the company culture. Even something as simple as setting up a Facebook group for your employees to join, chat, and set up meet ups together can go a long way toward facilitating healthier working relationships.
When employees form relationships, they are more likely to feel like they're part of a team, which encourages collaboration, a sense of belonging, and increased accountability.
Axis 5: Spirituality & Values
Spirituality can be the source of your hope, aspiration, and direction. Dan Cohen of the University of Missouri-Columbia says research indicates that "spiritual beliefs may be a coping device to help individuals deal emotionally with stress."
While religion is one possible outlet for spirituality, ones values and beliefs – irrespective of religion – can also be important anchors for one's spiritual life.
According to Pew Research, Americans are increasingly identifying as "spiritual, but not religious." While it's important to ensure employees feel safe to own their religion, it's just as important to ensure those who aren't necessarily religious feel equally respected.
Axis 6: Occupational Health
People seek employment where they can do work they find rewarding. Great Place to Work says companies with happy employees have three times the revenue growth, 50 percent lower employee turnover, and have three times the stock market performance compared to other business.
Employees also want to work for an organization that values them as individuals. If an employer remembers the names of his employees and takes an interest in their lives outside the workplace, employees feel valuable to their boss and the company as a whole.
Companies that are conscientious of the dynamic between "employer" and "employee" and who take steps to improve it can also increase their competitive position within their industry.
Axis 7: Physical Health
When employees feel a strain on their other axes of wellness, you can expect that strain to impact their physical health, as well. According to The Mayo Clinic, "stress that's left unchecked can contribute to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes."
Making fitness exciting to your employees by incorporating a reward system helps your employees improve their physical health. The iRewardHealth app can help your employees feel intrinsically motivated to live healthier lives.
Axis 8: Intellectual Health
What you learn from others and your ability to teach also contribute to your health, wellness, and happiness. The human mind craves stimulation. Discussions with others facilitate growth beyond what an individual has experienced previously, spark curiosity of new possibilities, and can lead to feelings of accomplishment.
Encourage your employees to use Meetup.com to set up information-sharing and collaborative groups where people with like interests can connect. Your company can also invest in programs like LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com) to offer discounted or free ongoing education at a relatively low cost to your business.
Engage employees by introducing new ideas or opening conversations to hear the opinions of others. Your employees want to feel like you listen to them and that you see value in their thoughts and opinions.
Improvement takes time and intentional, incremental implementation. Which of the 8 axes of wellness will you prioritize within your company this month? Let us know in the comments below so we can support you and your teams in creating an 8-axes-healthy workplace.