A Modest Proposal: Move Corporate Wellness from the Work Week to the Weekend
Weekend warriors come to work energized, focused and rearing to go.
Bloomberg recently ran what has become a somewhat routine article debunking the benefits of workplace wellness programs: “Workplace wellness programs have two main goals: improve employees’ health and lower their employers’ health-care costs. They’re not very good at either, new research finds.” (Workplace Wellness Programs Really Don’t Work, January 26, 2018).
Each day seems to bring another new wellness technology, app or program. As a result, organizations wind up spending a disproportionate amount of their time searching for, vetting and selecting program and technology vendors, much like day traders chasing stocks — which leads to vendor churn, instability and waste…as results (per Bloomberg) have proven elusive.
Corporate wellness programs are designed to be woven into an employee’s workday, which can’t help but intrude on one’s daily activities and responsibilities. Moreover, it’s hard to motivate employees to “go the extra” mile during a busy, often stress-filled work week. We would like to make a modest proposal: move wellness to the weekend! This would lower barriers to participation by giving employees a tool to organize their weekends — when they have the time and inclination to independently pursue a range of activities promoting their well-being.
A “Weekend Warrior” program wouldn’t explicitly ask/demand/incentivize employees to partake in wellness-related activities — rather, it would give them a framework to organize, expand, even quantify the weekend activities they undertake…and provide information that’s meaningful to each participant, WW would give participants a mechanism to promote more well-rounded, fulfilling weekends (which can have obvious spillover effects during the work week…and help form healthy habits).
It should be relatively easy motivating the workforce to have an action-packed, fulfilling weekend that rewards “responsible” or productive activity…where co-workers can share what they did that weekend, and engage in friendly competition over the course of the week. It would also get co-workers buzzing through the week about their weekend plans and promote a fun espirit d’corps, making it both a wellness engagement/rewards platform and team-building tool. It could also be plugged into standard rewards program where rewards can be applied to weekend activities.
The program would take in a broad spectrum of weekend activity in the following categories:
· physical activity
· mental stimulation (reading a book, watching a movie)
· participation (attending a cultural or sports event, volunteer work)
· “mindfulness” (meditation, etc.).
In a follow-up post, we’ll share thoughts on how to develop a Weekend Warrior framework for scoring and to promote ongoing participation. We welcome your thoughts!