A note from our founder on this blog series:

Hey you!

Welcome to the Wellshift blog. You're in the right place.

This blog will talk about how to create a culture of wellness in your company. Our articles are based on research from psychotherapists, PhD's, doctors, physical therapists, professors, and first hand knowledge gained from hundreds of conversations with wellness professionals and human resources professionals alike. Not to mention being employees ourselves ;).

Here's the truth about corporate wellness: employees, most likely including you, are getting sick at work. Take that seriously. According to Harvard, you are about 35% more likely to get diagnosed with an illness due to stresses at work. So the longer you wait, the sicker you can get.

It's important to start being well, now.  We will help you get there.

So glad to have you with us.

- The Wellshift team


FitBits, Weight Watchers subscriptions and gym memberships all have one thing in common: The act of offering an employee wellness benefit has no bearing on whether or not your team will actually use it. In fact, the chances are that most won’t. Because what no one talks about in wellness is that the wearable or subscription you offer is ONLY as good as the culture that supports it. So we must focus on creating a culture of wellness, if we hope to create any change at all.

Let me repeat that, because it’s important: A healthy culture is the biggest asset for a healthy company.

Culture = consistent actions over time within your community. It is the set of habits that make up your every day. For example, every morning you wake up and make coffee, read your email, and then get to work by 9:30. Going to church on Sundays. Watching every new episode of Game Of Thrones. Anything that repeats itself, consistently, in your behavior, is a part of your culture.

Culture has two roots. First, it starts from within. Where we place our values determines what actions we take throughout the day. According to Time magazine, we make over 1,000 active choices a day. If we hold our own time, for example, in a place of low value, we will choose to give our time away to everyone around us until there’s nothing left for ourselves (sound familiar?). On the other hand, if we choose to value our time very highly, we will be thoughtful about what we say yes and no to, and take the time to nurture ourselves Ah, that feels better.

So why don’t we do that?

This is where the second root of culture comes from: what the people around us value. We want external validation. Most people are currently focused on external motivation, not internal motivation. This means we are gauging our own value on others seeing value within us. By tangibly being given value from someone else (praise, a gift, promotion, a hug), we then feel our self-worth grow. The actions, therefore, that get us validation, become SUPER important.

What type of behavior is currently rewarded at your company? Getting in early and staying late? It's time to be conscious about this.

To influence culture we must be intentional with the set of habits that are valued within our community. And to influence workplace culture, we must be intentional with the set of habits that are valued by each employee, each team--dare I say it, including your executive team--and the organization as a whole.

Now, you might be thinking, Mel, you’re crazy. How am I, just one person, going to do that? Great question.

This is your first homework assignment. It takes 15 minutes. Here are the instructions:

Step 1: Bring awareness to your current habits.

To be intentional, you must be choose to bring into awareness what's going on right now at your company. What kind of habits exist today? This exercise is important because you have to be aware of something before you can change it.

Take 15 minutes to list out all of the habits you see recurring at your workplace. This becomes more powerful if you create your list with a team member or 2 who also care about wellness. What do you do daily that feels additive to you and your team's well-being? What do you and your team do daily that detracts from your well-being?

Be sure to split your list into those two parts. Keep in mind that this is not just about exercise and weight loss; this is about ALL of it: stress levels, nutrition, laughing, and anything in your culture is present and may influence your actions. It is every action that makes up your well-being.

At the end of this exercise, you should have a list of what good habits exist and what bad habits exist. Write this in a google doc that lives online so you have it saved. Then, feel free to post your lists in the comments. Remember, this is all about bringing awareness. There's NO judgement here. This is teamwork, people. I am totally on your team. Let's do this right :)

Whatever you choose, hold on to your list and stay tuned for next week's post. We're going to start making a map of action.