For businesses to truly thrive, it’s time to make the health of their employees a priority. This doesn’t mean just giving out a FitBit and offering a space to roll out a yoga mat once a month. True wellness demands more thoughtful resources and trainings for employees that encompass additional areas of health, including emotional, intellectual, and spiritual aspects. This means creating a work culture that progresses beyond just talking about it and truly begins to invest in and support overall employee health, as this is becoming increasingly important to employees.
It’s time to look beyond the “employee wellness” options that primarily focus on fixing problems, like obesity and smoking. Shifting the view towards health promotion and disease prevention. Offering opportunities and solutions to impact all domains of employee’s health. This is achieved while simultaneously fostering creativity and creating the motivation employees need to be engaged with their own health and to stay employed with the company.
Along this line, perhaps it is time to request something new from your company retreats and incentive trips. Here’s the opportunity to stop offering trainings that keep employees inside boardrooms and conference spaces for the majority of the day. Rid yourself of the notion that people actually learn through 8+-hour days filled with lectures and PowerPoint presentations. Accepting that all of this “go, go, go” without stopping has a negative impact on productivity and learning retention, not to mention employees’ mental and physical health.
It is time for business retreats to evolve. To include wellness as a component of all retreats for the benefit of both employees and businesses. Provide time to detach from the daily all day sitting, to move around and de-stress, and to focus on growing the well-being of the team. Creating healthier, happier employees can ultimately lower healthcare costs and increase profit margins. It can also strengthen employee bonds, boost company culture and morale, and enhance employee satisfaction. Employees can return to work focused and re-energized. Perhaps with a healthier outlook on their work and life as well.
A wellness company retreat that is focused on growing all aspects of your employee’s health should seek an equal balance of four things: outside learning, adventure, relaxation, and wellness travel.
Gone are the days when keeping employees inside a conference room for hours of training is considered a best practice. Certainly, as attention spans are dwindling. According to a Microsoft Corp. study, a goldfish has a short attention span of 9 seconds. Humans, on the other hand, lose concentration at a mere 8 seconds. Thus, keeping trainings confined to a set area puts an additional strain on employee attention. When training is focused on education being offered in a distraction-free location and includes audience interaction, employees are more likely to learn and retain more information.
Education that takes place outside the typical work environment will expand employee’s minds to stretch and grow in different ways. It is through this fostering of creativity that new ways of thinking and problem solving develop. Employees learn how to step outside the box. This may result in them finding unique ideas and solutions to work challenges.
For your company wellness retreat to be successful, it’s important to recognize that employees have different preferences for how they learn as all employees come with unique backgrounds and perspectives on life. For this reason, consider varied techniques and learning styles that incorporate visual, verbal, physical, and social aspects during educational times. Additionally, combining trainings with visual presentations rich in charts and graphs is a sure way to grasp the attention of your employees and keep it. Lastly, in a group discussion check-in frequently, make sure expectations are being met or give employees time and space to solve challenges in their own way before coming back together for a team discussion.
Adding in some adventure to a business retreat will make it fun and more meaningful to all. Sometimes it takes adding a little adventure to a business retreat to get the mindsets moving in a positive direction. It is with this adventure that the blood gets pumping and your team bonds are strengthened.
One of the best ways to add an adventure is by spending time outdoors. Years of research shows that spending time outside is beneficial on many levels. Time in nature reduces stress, quiets the mind, clears the lungs, moves the body, and increases creativity. Rappelling waterfalls in Costa Rica stimulates team-building and trust. A group hike in Banff National Park to builds camaraderie. But adventure also comes from inside spaces, like a scavenger hunt, yoga class, or group cooking experiences.
Have you ever heard someone say this after returning from a family trip: “I need a vacation from my vacation”? This view applies to retreats too. When a business retreat is solely focused on cramming knowledge into employees, something is lost in the process. The time to relax and recharge is typically scrapped in place of jam-packed agendas and over-scheduled days. The result is that people come home tired and exhausted, with full inboxes and lists of things to do. They need a retreat from this work “retreat." Any retreat benefit goes out the door, as your employees are tired and can only attack their work with the mentality of a glass that is half empty.
It’s the space between the training sessions where true magic often happens at a wellness company retreat. It’s when employees can quiet their minds and find the calmness from within. Shown by sharing stories around a fire pit at the end of the night. Taking a stroll alongside a river walk. Or by swinging in a hammock and taking in the view. The idea that we have to be constantly “doing” something in order to truly benefit is just wrong. In fact, taking dedicated time to allow minds to process daily information is very important. It allows employees the chance to decompress, relax, and recharge.
Wellness travel is defined as travel with the goal of enhancing your personal well-being and includes the pursuit of physical, mental, social, spiritual, economic and environmental health. It’s the fastest growing segment of the $8.2 trillion-dollar global tourism industry. Showing that people have begun to demand a healthier way to travel.
Wellness travel is a proactive approach to your health that promotes individual responsibility and holistic care being integrated into life. Experienced by moving the body often and in different ways through hiking, yoga, or strength training. Eating healthy food that is tasty and nutritious. Having personal and spiritual challenges for personal and professional growth. Providing cultural immersion experiences with the locals, their cuisine, and their heritage to understand new perspectives on life. Finally, wellness travel involves time outside in parks, forests, and nature to see wildlife and feel the serenity offered here.
It makes perfect sense to combine the aspects of wellness travel with a company retreat to reap as many employee and business benefits as possible. Having employees return home from their work travels with renewed energy and drive to be enthusiastically present in their own personal and work lives while overall healthier.
Wellness travel belongs with a company wellness retreat.
Harvard research backs up the benefits of a company wellness retreat. Nineteen studies concluded that when businesses invest in prevention and wellness programs, the medical costs decrease roughly $3 for every $1 spent on a health promotion program. In a 2017 study, the concept of wellness travel was reviewed for potential health outcomes by The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. They found that at a one-week wellness vacation that includes educational, therapeutic and leisure activities resulted in substantial long-term improvements in everything from psychological to health symptom measures.
At Wonderment, we create and lead company wellness retreats that create a lasting positive impact on both employee performance and overall health. Working together, we make the experience stress-free, memorable, and fun for all involved. Want to know more? Check out how this nutrition practice customized a retreat to meet their needs. Reach out to us today to discuss how Wonderment can create a customized retreat for your team.
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