Workplace Wellness: Setting New Standards for Employee Health

It is that time of year again, when sneezes and coughs echo within the walls of many office buildings. That’s right, cold and flu season is upon us and it threatens many workers who share common spaces under one roof. For employees, the responsible choice of staying home to nurse an illness is not necessarily the acceptable one in many of today’s over-extended workplace environments. Obstacles such as project deadlines, company policy, and good old-fashioned work ethic can keep those germs circulating and potentially spreading to more people.

Thankfully, our place of work is understanding and encourages working from home or taking advantage of sick days. These short breaks can help more than just physical symptoms by creating a mental break from our routines.

Workplace wellness is changing to accommodate more than just seasonal distresses and medical appointments. New policies that promote the well-being of employees are evolving to encompass more than just immune health. These include an increase in mental health awareness and care options, wardrobe diversity, and mindfulness activities.

Employers are embracing the concept that our working environments can impact life outside of the job, and that our work “families” play a role in both productivity and success. The following pieces showcase some of the changes taking place in professional settings as a way to foster healthier workers.

  • Chipotle Mexican Grill is placing a new focus on employee benefits with the announcement that it will provide access to mental healthcare. This is a new avenue for the restaurant chain as part of a larger commitment to employee well-being. In addition to enhanced benefits, the company will also focus on financial wellness initiatives.
  • Coffee giant Starbucks is updating its dress code to accommodate more freedom among its employees. Some of the newer additions made to the company policy include: allowing workers to display facial piercings and greater leniency towards the required work wardrobe to allow for expression of individuality.
  • is a wellness platform that is launching its app in the Slack App Marketplace. The company utilizes live panels, classes, and courses, in addition to on-demand content to fuel healthier habits. Designed to reduce stress and encourage emotional intelligence, the new app gives employees access to a widely-used social platform that could help fuel office productivity.

Achieving balance in today’s workplace can be tricky when it comes to navigating time off for sudden illness, adhering to dress code policies, and battling mental burnout, but this is changing. Companies are innovating within professional environments with new applications, standards, and additional benefit coverage to accommodate for an evolving workforce.  We can all appreciate feeling a little more cared for, even when it doesn’t come in the form of a soothing bowl of chicken noodle soup.