Mexico began playing closer attention to emotional well-being and human development at work in 2016, after the Ministry of Labor and Social Security released a book detailing the country’s challenges on the subject. Years after this, a reform to NOM-036 included new rules to secure workers’ physical health at their work spaces and serve as a support system if the employee suffered any physical health complication at work. While this step was very positive, caring only about physical health is not enough.
Not long after this, a reform to NOM-035 established the elements that make it possible to identify, analyze and prevent psychosocial risk factors, as well as to promote a favorable organizational environment in the workplace to guarantee the well-being of employees.
In a way, this NOM was a breaking point for corporate wellness programs within companies. Moreover, global trends and the International Labor Organization were also a standard to build new wellness programs. However, other challenges emerged. “These programs seem imposed by the company on their employees, so collaborators perceive it as an extra work and not as an empowerment tool. Sometimes, companies see it as part of the job, too, because by law, they must comply with regulations related to the psycho-emotional well-being of their employees,” said Victor Saadia, Founder and Director General of Alive Wellness Consulting, during an interview with MBN.
Why is corporate wellness so important? Several studies have proven that well-being is highly related to productivity. A study by the Society for Human Resources Administration in Mexico shows that work absenteeism decreases a company productivity by 34 percent. This absenteeism is not always presential, it can also be caused by feeling sick, living with a chronic disease, having physiological trouble or feeling discomfort.
Wellness within a company increases collaborator’s engagement. A favorable environment within a company increases the feeling of comfort and therefore there is a higher possibility of the employee being happier. Also, corporate wellness can attract and retain talent within a company. “Companies can be a great partner in employees’ self-realization, happiness, joy, health and well-being. Employers need to exploit their supporting role and employees need to realize that they can achieve their well-being goals with the help of the company,” said Saadia.
How to know what corporate wellness truly is? “Wellness intends to empower, to speak about the potential of individuals and corporations, self-knowledge, transcendence and complete integration of what makes a person: economy, health, social relations, spirituality, among other factors.” said Saadia.
What are the key drivers to improve a collaborator’s experience? A Deloitte survey highlights the following:
- A positive working environment
- Doing a significant job
- Having growth and development opportunities
- Collaboration and communication within the company
- Trusting leaders
- Having supporting leaders
- Technology and information access to perform the job
How can companies keep fostering corporate wellness during COVID-19 isolation? While the situation is still new, according to Saadia, this can be seen as an opportunity. “We have companies asking their collaborators about anxiety, fear and many other mental health issues that maybe in the past they were not so open to bring to the table. Companies now have the chance to become a partner to their collaborators and ensure a life-long active quest for well-being.”