Culture eats strategy for breakfast. Why does this adage, made famous by Mark Fields, the former CEO of Ford, ring true for so many companies? Behind any corporate strategy, however brilliant, there are teams, comprised of people, who each bring their own set of thoughts, feelings, habits, attitudes and values. Even with a great product, perfect market conditions, and a generous advertising budget in place, at the end of the day, the success of your team largely depends on your employee’s most important asset – their own mind. As numerous studies have shown, when your employees are healthy, happy and thriving, your company culture becomes more stable, more innovative, and agile which leads to increased productivity, lower attrition, and better profits. Individually and collectively, employees are more able to execute on strategy.
So, how do companies enable strong, healthy minds? One obvious approach is through corporate wellness programs. More than a trend, corporate wellness programs are a $7 billion industry in the US, up 1.3% from 2013 and globally, the wellness industry is a $4.2 trillion market. When it comes to wellness programs in companies, the solutions and resulting benefits lie on a spectrum and vary method to method.
What does employee wellness look like?
Depending on the company, you’ll find in-house gyms, fitness and nutrition classes, and often robust directories of a variety of services through Employee Assistance Programs. Many companies even have state of the art wellness facilities and gadgets. Zappos, the online shoe company, is known for its on-campus fitness room and nap room. And for some, integrating wellness into company culture can be as simple as providing a pleasant workspace, like one with lots of natural light, green spaces, and comfortable seating.
The common thread to all these solutions is that wellness solutions are often encountered at the company or in some cases through the comfort of one’s own home. This makes sense as we spend most of our time at the office and the rest, typically at home. The irony here is that it is often the dynamics at both work and home that can lead to stress, which impacts so much of our health and well-being, costing companies more than $300 billion annually on stress related health care costs.
How Corporate Retreats Help Your Company Thrive
An often overlooked source to attend to one’s wellness fully and holistically that is starting to gain traction are corporate retreats. Retreats allow employees a chance to really disconnect and decompress from the day-to-day and attend to their entire well-being. As the National Institute of Health specifies, there are eight attributes to one’s well-being. Employees are not compartmentalized beings, each wellness attribute affects the other, just as work affects one’s personal life and one’s personal life affects work.
Corporate retreats, often settled in serene, beautiful environments, when programmed well can reduce stress, improve engagement and help teams better connect, improving overall employee well-being. Audible’s Chief Product and Marketing Officer, Louis Gagnon, who took his team to an off-site retreat offered by the TLEX Institute, a global corporate training provider, shared that “Our team was engaged, opened and excited to have the rare luxury to focus on themselves as individuals — individuals as a conduit and lever to ourselves as a team. We all felt deeply rejuvenated and at peace with each other. That, ultimately, built trust – the ultimate ingredient to teamwork.“ One of the core ingredients of the retreat Gagnon attended: mindfulness and meditation.
Why Meditation is Your Best Bet
One of the most effective pillars of wellness is meditation. More and more companies are integrating meditation and mindfulness into their wellness offerings, and for a good reason. Practicing meditation carries an impressive myriad of benefits, both personal and professional:
- Meditation increases creativity and develops problem-solving skills
- Meditation teaches stress management and resilience
- Meditation nurtures emotional intelligence, which in turn fosters a harmonious and drama-free office culture
- Meditation soothes anxiety and depression, and increases self-esteem and confidence, which improves work performance, enthusiasm, and customer service quality.
A retreat, whether it focuses on happiness, nutrition and healthy living, self-discovery, emotional wellness, or learning practices like yoga or meditation, serves as a punctuation mark in a person’s personal and professional development. At the Art of Living Retreat Center, employees can self-select and pick and choose from the variety of programs offered, or as a team, attend one of the TLEX Institute programs onsite.
What a Wellness Retreat Actually Does
At the end of the day, employees are people. And off-site company retreats can
- Help your team bond with one another on a deep and meaningful level. Many people report connecting more deeply with others, whether colleagues or friends, on a weekend retreat than through years of casual acquaintance. It’s the quality of the time over the quantity.
- Help you identify and explore your unique strengths, and learn how to apply them in the workplace
- Teach coping techniques for stressful environments to ensure productivity is maintained
- Equip you with a continuing practice of mental, physical, emotional, and social self-care, for full well-being so that you can and be at your best in the workplace and at home