Sick at Work

Over the past decade, the topic of wellness has become big business in the HR technology space. Despite the reportedly positive business impact of wellness, many of us resisted the subject entirely. Just who is my employer anyway, to tell me to eat my vegetables, wear my sweater, take the stairs, and get enough sleep? But wellness doesn’t mean you have only a choice between being a celery-and-carrot-stick-toting marathon runner, or suffer being cast off into the world of the unfit. At its best, wellness is about showing up wholly present, as happy and healthy as we can be, to be productive at work. It’s also about much more than exercise and diet. It’s the complete package: harmonizing your financial, physical, emotional, social and family lives so that you’re able to concentrate on each of these at the appropriate time.

But what if even on your best day you are still sick at work?

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that 6  in 10 Americans live with at least one chronic disease, like asthma, heart disease, cancer, or diabetes, and the World Health Organization (WHO) further estimates 1 in 4 of us will deal with a mental condition or illness at some point in our lives. Moreover, lest we forget, the work population is always aging. Exponentially more people with extensive experience, still highly capable of contributing, will, in effect, show up “sick” at work every day.

So it’s time to look at wellness beyond the triathlon-conquering CEO, to address how companies can rethink the ways they might design jobs to be more inclusive, the variety of programs and benefits they offer, and how they can embrace universal design to drive business performance, and enhance the employee experience and their recruitment/employer brand.

As a PWPD (person with Parkinson’s disease) and an HR technology industry analyst, Mollie Lombardi brings her personal, professional, and academic experience to this critical topic, with insights to help individuals and managers rethink wellness, and help all of us be as whole, happy and healthy as we can be.

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