Workplace wellness fundamentals that work


Wellness is for companies of all sizes but what is included often changes company to company. We’ve compiled a list of the fundamentals to help evaluate the foundation of your program.


Seven fundamentals of wellness


1/ Spruce up the environment


The workplace itself matters. Fresh paint that enhances the light and a well organized space will promote a feeling of calm.


It’s often a starting point for us working with underperforming companies because it boosts moral, engages employees in their environment and gives everyone a fresh start. It also enhances the way the company and the competence of the employees are perceived by customers, prospective employees, partners and other visitors. It changes the way everyone feels.


2/ Provide tools that encourage standing and spark creativity


Encourage creativity. White boards and colorful markers are great tools to engage employees in problem solving.


From our experience, one person might start at the whiteboard but as time goes on others will likely jump up to share their knowledge and perspective on a problem. That engagement is good not only for the quality of the solution that results but also the health of those participating. Standing breaks and screen breaks are both positive health habits that improve the wellbeing of employees.


3/ Choose a convenient location


Reduce travel time and incorporate collaboration tools to enable remote work and work from home programs.


Whether you travel for work or have a long commute, sitting in traffic for an hour or two after a long day can zap your energy. Company policies should empower employees to minimize travel and commute time. Instead, encourage employees to optimize their face time at work. Leading edge companies rely on KPIs to measure performance.


4/ Revamp travel policies


Reimburse and reward healthy choices. Allow for expenses the promote walking, healthy meal choices and exercise.


Extrinsic rewards generally do not result in lasting behavior change. However, reimbursement of expenses that make travel healthier are the perfect reward. A good example would be a better hotel that is in walking distance to the workplace in lieu of a rental car. It’s a perk that may cost the company a little more in the short run but it will pay off in terms of employee satisfaction and healthcare costs in the long run.


5/ Provide job training and online education


Provide a path for growth. Online education is an affordable way for companies to promote continuous learning.


Company sponsored job training and education often has a lot of restrictions because historically, it’s been an expensive benefit. Companies wanted to capture the benefit. However, online education is affordable for all companies to offer so there is no reason to restrict or limit it.


Education is what levels the playing field for all employees. Companies that create opportunities for employees to apply their new knowledge and skills will capture the benefit. Otherwise, think of it as a way to pay it forward.


6/ Provide coaching


Provide diversity and equality training. Appropriate behavior and conduct for the workplace needs to be defined so that people are clear about what movements like #metoo means to them.


An Orthopedic surgeon was recently questioning the need to have a observer present when examining patients. The #metoo movement is making people question their conduct in the workplace. Reflection is a healthy behavior because it often leads to positive adjustments. 


Formal training and coaching to clarify appropriate behavior within a specific workplace context is a good idea too. Both sexual harassment and sexual abuse have been shown to cause adverse health issues for women.


7/ Review compensation for cost of living


Compensation is the foundation of health. The term Disease of Despair is one of the problems underlying the Opioid Epidemic. Life just sucks for a lot of people because they don’t have the money to pay for the basic essentials of life. Living wages that cover food, shelter and clothing are the foundation of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.


Companies need to reward equal work with equal pay, include education, job training and coaching that empowers people to move up the hierarchy and create opportunities for everyone to participate at all levels of an organization

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