Extending Wellness Beyond CorporationsBy Rodrigo Brugada | Mon, 07/19/2021 - 18:47
Q: You collaborate with companies to build wellness programs. Who is involved in that process and how do you assure that all voices are heard?
A: The central point of our program is to match actions with employees’ needs through conversations between different levels of an organization. This allows us to build something collectively that is not later perceived as an imposition. Managers need to motivate their employees to adopt these programs, while employees need to be involved in their creation to ensure that managers understand their needs.
Through corporate wellness, it is possible to design programs that are relevant to employees. Wellness is not only a social responsibility but also as a tool for productivity and talent retention. Everything invested in these programs pays off in the company's numbers.
Q: Given that Mexico ranks among the world’s worst for work-life balance, how can corporate wellness alleviate the related stress?
A: Sometimes entrepreneurs do not believe that maintaining a work-life balance will be profitable. Although industrialized culture has led some employers to believe that exploitation is the most profitable path, the reality is that the well-being of employees translates into the well-being of the company. Businesses need to understand that this balance will actually result in healthier, productive, creative and engaged employees.
Q: How do you tackle complex and deeply ingrained problems in the Mexican labor market, such as low wages, long hours or precarious work?
A: There is an incorrect perception that these problems are outside the scope of the company. We perceive the company as an entity that is only responsible for providing a decent, safe and paid job, but in reality, companies end up being much more important in people's lives. Even more so in the absence of governments that provide better conditions and in the absence of powerful community networks.
The company is responsible for continuing the education of its employees after they leave the education system. It is an engine for well-being, learning and community. The more we understand business as a stakeholder in the well-being of people's lives and communities, the easier it will be to see that businesses have a bigger role to play.
Q: You incorporate Design and Systems Thinking to help health businesses be better prepared for the future. How do these models help clients to adopt a holistic view of wellness?
A: These social design methodologies are a new way of thinking about how to redesign dynamics focused on human development. Some of those principles suggest that questions are more important than answers and we have to listen more than we talk. We focus a lot on experiments and prototypes. We test and change quickly to be dynamic and get to better results in a shorter time.
Q: A year into the pandemic, how has your approach changed and how has corporate wellness transformed?
A: Due to the economic recession, companies are more focused on surviving than on investing in wellness programs and they have reduced these investments a great deal. These companies see wellness as a luxury, when it is a basic need. On the other hand, wellness is gaining relevance, which we see in the greater awareness of chronic diseases that could benefit from lifestyle changes.
Corporate wellness can be a catalyst for general wellness. We must understand that even when we have economic difficulties, investing in wellness pays off for both the company and society.
Q: How do you plan to adapt to future work changes to ensure health and well-being?
A: Well-being is a spectrum, it is not binary. It is also not an individual responsibility; whether at the individual, corporate or government level, it cannot be delegated to anyone else. Well-being is also integral. Emotional, physical, spiritual and financial aspects complement each other. Finally, wellness is a process that requires self-observation, reflection, time and patience. There are no immediate answers, or unequivocal recipes.
Individual responsibility can also act as an engine of community and social change. By taking charge of oneself, one can encourage other individuals to do the same and generate a stable community.
Alive Wellness Consulting is a strategy and planning consultancy focused on health and wellness through interdisciplinary action, collaborative community building and innovative design.