Home' Spa and Clinic : Volume 63 October 2015 Contents GLOBAL NEWS
THE GWI'S ROUNDTABLE began
with imagining the future of work and
then led to a discussion on the future of
Its 25-plus experts identified crucial
new realities that need to be addressed,
given what Dr Michael Roizen, chief
wellness officer of the Cleveland Clinic,
called "the unprecedented speed
of change" happening in work and
We look at some highlights of its
subsequent report: Ten Ways That Workplace
Wellness Must Evolve in the Future.
Take Seriously How Technology --
Enabling 24/7 Work - Is "Killing Us"
Technology has suddenly spawned new,
global work realities: imprisonment by
screens, and a powerful erosion of the line
between now always-on "work" and "life".
Assembled experts agreed that we have
not yet begun to grasp the wide-ranging
impact on employees' physical and mental
health ... and productivity.
Shaw n LaVana, head of marketing,
Virgin Pulse, said: "We're checking our
smartphones 150 times a day.
"How focused can we really be? All of this
time in front of screens, for work and in our
personal lives, means we're not exercising
and eating well, and all of this feeds into a
vicious cycle of poor health choices.
"These are negative habits we've built, but
we can build positive habits in the same way."
James Brewer, workspace consultant for
Steelcase, added: "The disintegration of
work-life boundaries is also being driven
"When you have teams distributed
worldwide, you have new realities like
workers having to virtually collaborate
with colleagues and business partners in
the middle of the night."
Brewer also noted that there seems to be
a dichotomy in policy approaches to work-
life balance between small "start-ups" and
the larger, more established organisations.
Smaller start-ups appear to be more
proactive in implementing policies that help
their employees define when it is okay to
"turn it off " and disconnect (ie. no emails
in the evening or work-free vacations).
On the other hand, these types of
policy approaches are largely absent in
Address the Sharpening Age
Divide: Both Millennials and
Extended Work Life Baby Boomers
Much has been written about how
millennials and their tech-focused brains/
world are redefining work, workplaces and
The roundtable argued that this is not
just a splashy news angle but a powerful
truth. In a nutshell, millennials demand
far more work flexibility and simply expect
all manner of health and wellbeing.
As Dr Kenneth Pelletier, Clinical
Professor of Medicine and Professor of
Public Health, University of Arizona
and University of California Schools of
Medicine put it: "Millennial worksites and
their idea of 'wellness' look very different.
I'm still astounded when I visit Google. This
generation is taking us into an expectation
of health, and doesn't' find working yourself
to death until 10pm a desirable model."
Joel Bennett, president of Organisational
Wellness and Learning Systems (OWLS),
noted that both work structures and
wellness programs for millennials need to
acknowledge that this "emerging" group,
as well as the older "wisdom" group,
"represent a real evolution in the human
developmental lifecycle as we've known it,
with emerging adulthood and the ageing
workforce extending in years.
"The social fabric of ageing is changing
such that all age groups will benefit from
a total "We" in the wellness perspective
where all can learn from each other."
The conclusion: Because of millennials
the workplace wellness focus needs to
expand beyond healthcare costs, to
recruitment, motivation, productivity and
retention -- and you have to give them a
culture of health, because they expect it.
At the same time, in most parts of the
world, working populations are ageing,
and Baby Boomers are now extending
their work life long into traditional retire-
ment years. These "seniors," or workforce
"wisdom groups", also have unique
behaviors and needs.
For instance, many are part of the
remote worker surge, wanting to work at
home and not travel into an office.
As Dr Dondeena Bradley, Global Head of
Innovation at Weight Watchers noted: "Two
very distinct age groups are increasingly
mingling in the workforce. And more
businesses will need to rethink their
one-size-fits-all-ages approach to work
structure and wellness."
The Global Wellness
Institute held its seventh
roundtable in New
York in July, Redefining
24/7 connectivity is making the divide between work and life a blur, where
people are constantly "on". The roundtable heard that "this is killing us".
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