Employee Health and Wellness: It’s Good for Business!

Karl R. LaPan, President & CEO, The NIIC

Photo by Farsai Chaikulngamdee on Unsplash

As I mentioned last week, The Northeast Indiana Innovation Center (The NIIC) has partnered with LookUp Indiana to shine a light on better mental health, wellness and self-care for entrepreneurs and business builders. This blog is the last of a three-part series on self-care for business builders.

To put business builder mental illness in perspective, a 2015 University of California study stated “nearly 50% of people who start a company says they have struggled with some form of mental illness, with a third saying they have a lifetime illness.” Business builders experienced more depression, ADHD, substance abuse and bipolar disorder than their non-entrepreneurial counterparts. Whether you need resources, information or providers, LookUp Indiana is there to meet you where you are. Our hope at The NIIC is you will avail yourself of these resources when needed. Education is key to understanding your options and taking action.

It seems nowadays everyone is trying to get more productive hours out of the day. The Internet is flush with self-help articles on the themes of “hacking your work day,” work smarter, not harder,” etc. In other words, our society is distracted by technology that is always on, the tyranny of the urgent and a constant juggling and optimizing workflow for the sake of getting more done in less time.

But this is actually the wrong way to go about it. It’s a reactive approach. What if you, as a business builder or entrepreneur, employed a proactive approach instead? To create a results-oriented environment, business builders must create a culture where self-care is encouraged and part of the organizational culture being built in the workplace. This is most effective when leaders set an example of what that means and follow through. Following are a few areas in which business builders can focus their energies to inspire productive wellness habits to better manage their wheel of life (click on the free assessment to see how well balanced your life is at this moment).

  • Physical health: Lack of sleep can be detrimental to one’s health in so many ways. Do you routinely work late, only to come in before the sun rises? Sleep deprivation will catch up eventually. The same goes for poor nutrition and lack of exercise. Discipline and adopting effective physical health behaviors are essential to achieving optimum physical well-being.
  • Intellectual health: Effective leaders are naturally curious, wanting to expand their understanding of topics both in and outside their fields. Whether it’s trade journals, conferences, seminars, webinars or other forms of continuing education, set specific goals for your lifelong learning and for new skills to grow your capabilities.
  • Emotional health: No workplace is immune from problems. How do you, as a business builder, respond to conflict, challenge or any negative situation? Again, employees look to leaders for examples of grace under pressure. A workplace culture that addresses conflict head-on is healthier than those that avoid it. As a business builder, how do you work on cultivating your emotional intelligence (especially self-awareness) to engage in meaningful and fierce conversations (this is a terrific book) with others?
  • Spiritual health: Regardless of religious beliefs, you can find a greater meaning in your everyday work. Many see that their vocation is part of a higher calling from their Creator. Put simply, leaders who have more than a superficial connection with their work are healthier in all aspects. That sense of grounding can inspire confidence and meaning (purpose) among the teams they lead.

If there’s one takeaway, it’s that paying attention to and incorporating discipline around your own self-care and wellness is smart business. Well-being is serious business and lost productivity is real so don’t skip your yoga session, your book club, your vacation or anything you planned to recharge your batteries.


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