Promoting employee wellness is a necessary component in the goals of any productive, thriving business. In the addiction recovery program profession/field, practicing what we promote to our patients is not just necessary, it’s vital. The stability and foundation for success of our organizations and those we serve depend on it.
Creating employees who are “Fit for Duty” is a primary goal of New Directions for Women. Employees come to work as vessels, pouring themselves into the people we serve, as well as into each other every single day. They empty themselves of spiritual, emotional, physical and intellectual capabilities into their patients and families. To optimize their capacity to do this continually needs to be a priority of the organization, and it is up to us as employers to acknowledge their need for refilling their vessels and to encourage opportunities for them to do so. There are a multitude of methods and resources available to implement that provide the means for doing just that.
Supporting employees who are fit for duty can be as simple as providing walking and mindfulness meditation breaks, as well as more structured wellness activities such as acupuncture and massage. Wellness encompasses a holistic spectrum of actions and levels. In our New Directions for Women Employee Handbook, we’ve determined and listed Eight Dimensions of Wellness, which we strive to include in our programs. These include the following wellness categories: Social; Occupational; Spiritual; Physical; Intellectual; Mental and Emotional; Environmental; and Financial. The purpose of our Wellness Program is to actively promote all levels of wellness for all employees and members of our “family,” and to help model wellness to all persons served.
According to a recent national survey cited in a report prepared by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in collaboration with the Transamerica Center for Health Studies, “many businesses are interested in implementing a workplace health promotion program, but fear that they are 'too small' to support a comprehensive program, or that the program will ‘cost too much.’” Developing and maintaining cost-effective yet significant wellness programs that really work are possible for both small and large businesses. All that is required is creative thinking, commitment to scheduling time to create programs, input from all employees, and development of rewards that employees truly value. While participation is optional, we strive to promote opportunities for employees to take an active role in their own wellness plans.